Hackers and the US Power grid

Chip Fetrow tacos at fetrow.org
Sat Nov 10 00:20:05 CST 2012

Well, you are never going to get me to think that government ownership  
of power companies is a good idea.

Of course, the government could issue a regulation, or the legislators  
(state or federal) could pass a law to fix this issue.

I believe we will be hacked, a huge power failure will result and one  
of two things will result:

1:	These idiots will clean up their act.


2:	The government will step in and force them.

We are seeing both with PEPCO right now.  Mostly it is them cleaning  
up their act.

As an aside; I believe PEPCO "engineered" their problems.  They got so  
much flack about tree trimming they just stopped.  They waited until  
the public was sick of power failures that resulted from falling limbs  
and trees, and it made it easier for them to trim the trees.  The  
problem is, there are still people who don't want their trees trimmed.


On Nov 10, 2012, at 12:05 AM, tacos-request at amrad.org wrote:

> Message: 6
> Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2012 00:05:53 -0500
> From: Andre Kesteloot <andre.kesteloot at verizon.net>
> To: tacos at amrad.org
> Subject: Re: Hackers and the US Power grid
> One of the problems seems to be that the power-generating companies in
> the US  are not Government-owned (as they are in France, or England,  
> or
> Russia, etc), and therefore are not easily controlled by the USG.  In
> other words it is not evident that the USG can force them to have
> stricter security, as this would involve additional expenses.
> 73
> Andr?
> On 11/9/2012 23:50 PM, Chip Fetrow wrote:
>> It just astounds me that critical power generation and distribution
>> equipment is actually connected to the public Internet.
>> It seems incredibly stupid to me.
>> I did some work with Mitre several years ago.  They ran their  
>> internal
>> network with no connection to anything outside.  Of course, part of
>> what they do is DoD work.  I wanted to give them access to some of my
>> equipment so they wouldn't have to drive 60 miles to "adjust" things.
>> They told me they didn't have modems at all and were not allowed to
>> buy them.  I reached inside a cabinet, pulled one out and gave it to
>> them.  They got permission to instal it on a computer that had a new
>> OS install, and no connection to their network.
>> Now, why can't the power companies do the same thing.  Run an  
>> internal
>> network.  Seeing that they are the second biggest users of point to
>> point microwave (next to phone companies), it would seem trivial.
>> I had a discussion with a high level engineering manager with a power
>> company once and I stated that it seemed obvious to me that nuclear
>> plants were not connected to the public Internet and he turned white.
>> --chip

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