Ted Bridis and Eileen Sullivan of the AP are reporting about a video, which shows how a cyber attack might shut down our utilities.

From the AP article (courtesy of the Washington Post):

The video, produced for the Homeland Security Department and obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday, was marked “Official Use Only.” It shows commands quietly triggered by simulated hackers having such a violent reaction that the enormous turbine shudders as pieces fly apart and it belches black-and-white smoke.

Although, this attack never took place, the article quotes goverment sources as saying:

President Bush’s top telecommunications advisers concluded years ago that an organization such as a foreign intelligence service or a well-funded terror group “could conduct a structured attack on the electric power grid electronically, with a high degree of anonymity, and without having to set foot in the target nation.” Ominously, the Idaho National Laboratory _ which produced the new video _ has described the risk as “the invisible threat.”

Experts said the affected systems were not developed with security in mind.

Now for the good news:

The Homeland Security Department has been working with industries, especially electrical and nuclear companies, to enhance security measures. The electric industry is still working on their internal assessments and plans, but the nuclear sector has implemented its security measures at all its plants, the government said.

In July the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposed a set of standards to help protect the country’s bulk electric power supply system from cyber attacks. These standards would require certain users, owners and operators of power grids to establish plans and controls.

The bad news, not mentioned in this article, is that some say foreign nations (China in particular) routinely attempt to hack into government systems.

Previous posts, I’ve written about alleged hacking attempts from China can be seen, here.

Of course, the Chinese government denies this is the case!

AP Story, courtesy of the Washington Post, here.

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