Skip to comments.POWER OUTAGES IN BRAZIL WERE CYBER ATTACKS
Posted on 11/06/2009 4:16:48 PM PST by null and void
Former Chief of National Intelligence Says U.S. Unprepared for Such an Attack
A series of power outages affecting millions of people in Brazil in 2005 and 2007 were the result of cyber attacks, 60 MINUTES has learned. The two-day event in Espirito Santo State affecting more than three million people in 2007 and another, smaller event in three cities north of Rio de Janeiro in January 2005 were perpetrated by hackers manipulating control systems. The revelation is part of a Steve Kroft investigation into how computers and the Internet can be used as weapons to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, Nov. 8 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Former Chief of U.S. National Intelligence Retired Adm. Mike McConnell believes it could happen in America. If I were an attacker and wanted to do strategic damage to the United States, I would either take the cold of winter or the heat of summer, he tells Kroft. I would probably sack electric power on the U.S. East Coast, maybe the West Coast and attempt to cause a cascading effect. If hackers did attack the U.S. power grid, The United States is not prepared for such an attack. says McConnell.
Congressman Jim Langevin (D.- R.I.), who chaired a subcommittee on cyber security, agrees. He says that U.S. power companies need to be forced to deal with the issue after they told Congress they would take steps to defend their operations but did not follow up. They admit that they misled Congress, says Langevin, and they still havent made much progress. The private sector has different priorities than we do in providing security. Their bottom line is about profits, he tells Kroft. We need to change their motivation so that when see vulnerability like this, we can require them to fix it.
Computer hackers have struck in the U.S. already. People talk about cyber Pearl Harbors, we probably had our electronic Pearl Harbor, says Jim Lewis, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies which oversaw a study on cyber security for the Obama Administration. He is referring to a breach of computer security resulting in the downloading of huge amounts of critical information from several governmental departments, including Defense, State and Commerce. So we probably lost the equivalent of a Library of Congress worth of information in 2007, he says.
A bigger event than even that, says Lewis, was a breach of the CENTCOM Network, the U.S. command fighting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We know it was a foreign country. We dont know which one this was a very sophisticated set of skills, Lewis tells Kroft.
Banks are also targets; more money has been stolen by cyber thieves than by those walking into banks so far this year in the U.S. over $100 million says FBI Agent Sean Henry. But you dont hear much about it. When theres a network breach, the owners of the network are not keen to have it known it might impact their business, says Henry.
Money being stolen isnt even the biggest threat says McConnell, because a worse scenario would be if the hackers were to destroy the system that accounts for all the money and its movement. That would create a bank rush and financial pandemonium. McConnell worries it will take some horrific event to get the country focused on shoring up cyber security. If the power grid was taken off line in the middle of winter and it caused people to suffer and die, that would galvanize the nation. I hope we dont get there, he tells Kroft.
As always, the USA is unprepared but I’m always ready.
Not that I trust ANYTHING 60 Minuted reports, but it would explain some interesting local actions with respect to our power grid management...
don't worry, "TRUST US"
Who benefits? Why would someone want to cause power outages in Brazil? Did someone take credit for it? Seems as if was the Peoples Republic of Brazil folks, or the Spread Chavez Rule Everywhere folks, they would have taken credit or someone would have known. Does Brazil have external enemies who would benefit from that?
SCADA definitely vulnerable everywhere.
Brazil has a notoriously unstable system ... in fact, the ONLY stable systems are found in this here lower 48 states ...
A series of power outages affecting millions of people in Brazil in 2005 and 2007 were the result of ...WHAT IF I could provide documentatrion that showed: they lost 'system stability' - experienced collapse - the old fashioned way, through loss of transmission systems or due to loss of generation ... involving weather or simple human error (plant personnel incorrectly sequencing lines, brining generation into sycnh, incorrect wiring of transformers or votlage steppers)?
Would you eat crow?
This one is behanind a paywall (unless you area a member):
Large Disturbances Workshop - Brazil (ppt format)
I have an absolutely safe bet. If our grid is never taken down, I can always say 'maybe tomorrow'.
You, on the other hand, can lose. If the grid is ever taken down, you lose!
I hope you are correct, but history has shown that any system men can make, other men can break.
The issues in Brazil are in all probability human error as opposed to malice. (La Lydia asks the key question: Why did nobody count coup?) But, any error than can be made accidentally can be made deliberately.
"Trust us"? Not hardly. Even if I did, I'd still make contingency plans for the worst...
Are the European systems unstable? (Don’t know, just askin’).
Off hand I’d guess they are more stable than the US system, as generation is much closer to point of use.
If I understand your references, the Brazilian system is spokes on a wheel, with no cross connect redundancy. In effect their “grid” is made of series circuits, any failure at any point on a leg takes down the entire leg.
Did I get that right?
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