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Electrical Grid Is Called Vulnerable to Power Shutdown (SCADA vulnerabilities)
NY Times ^ | 10/18/2013 | NICOLE PERLROTH

Posted on 10/19/2013 5:44:07 AM PDT by markomalley

Over the past few months, the discoveries of two engineers have led to a steady trickle of alarms from the Department of Homeland Security concerning a threat to the nation’s power grid. Yet hardly anyone has noticed.

The advisories concern vulnerabilities in the communication protocol used by power and water utilities to remotely monitor control stations around the country. Using those vulnerabilities, an attacker at a single, unmanned power substation could inflict a widespread power outage.

Still, the two engineers who discovered the vulnerability say little is being done.

Adam Crain and Chris Sistrunk do not specialize in security. The engineers say they hardly qualify as security researchers. But seven months ago, Mr. Crain wrote software to look for defects in an open-source software program. The program targeted a very specific communications protocol called DNP3, which is predominantly used by electric and water companies, and plays a crucial role in so-called S.C.A.D.A. (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems. Utility companies use S.C.A.D.A. systems to monitor far-flung power stations from a control center, in part because it allows them to remotely diagnose problems rather than wait for a technician to physically drive out to a station and fix it.

(Excerpt) Read more at bits.blogs.nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Extended News; Government; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: electricgrid; electricity; powergrid; scada
Vulnerabilities in SCADA have been known about since, at least, the late 90s. Both with inadequate communication protocols and insecurely designed software.

The funny part about this is that with the Obama Administration's EPA and DOE working to shut down power plants, there will end up being fewer nodes in the system and those remaining will be more critical than ever. With these SCADA vulnerabilities, the power grid will be more susceptible to interruption than ever before.

1 posted on 10/19/2013 5:44:07 AM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley; Kartographer

Thanks for posting.


2 posted on 10/19/2013 5:58:59 AM PDT by kristinn (Welcome to the Soviet States of Obama)
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To: markomalley

DHS had better buy another 2 billion rounds of ammo....


3 posted on 10/19/2013 6:02:32 AM PDT by Iron Munro (When a killer screams 'Allahu Akbar' you don't need to be mystified about a motive.)
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To: markomalley

If you click on the link, you see the biggest vulnerability of these substations. Physical security.

All utility SCADA systems (military too) should be off - completely off - the public internet. This simple step (admittedly easier said than done at this point) would go a long way towards mitigating these vulnerabilities in the short-run.


4 posted on 10/19/2013 6:08:41 AM PDT by RFEngineer
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To: kristinn

Thanks for posting.

squared


5 posted on 10/19/2013 6:08:55 AM PDT by aumrl (let's keep it real Conservatives)
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To: markomalley; Joe Brower; CodeToad; Myrddin; Lazamataz

I feel like we’re living on a leaky old patched-up life raft, full of broken glass, and circled by sharks.


6 posted on 10/19/2013 6:14:41 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Travis McGee
I feel like we’re living on a leaky old patched-up life raft, full of broken glass, and circled by sharks.

The best advice I would have for anybody who wants to minimize their vulnerability to this threat is to get some solar panels for your roof.

That way, when the vulnerability is exploited...at least you'll have some power to keep your lights on and your fridges going.

7 posted on 10/19/2013 6:16:27 AM PDT by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: markomalley; Kartographer

The funny part about this is that with the Obama Administration’s EPA and DOE working to shut down power plants, there will end up being fewer nodes in the system and those remaining will be more critical than ever. With these SCADA vulnerabilities, the power grid will be more susceptible to interruption than ever before.


As time goes on I see this more and more as part and parcel of a ‘master plan’. I even wrote a short story to get people to think about it. It’s far-fetched in many ways and many posters dissected it. But very few actually thought about the premise and what they might do in such a situation. Perhaps you might want to read it and give me your own viewpoints.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/3078897/posts


8 posted on 10/19/2013 6:19:34 AM PDT by The Working Man
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To: markomalley

High-income green freaks have their own deisel generators. I know this because my ex installs them.


9 posted on 10/19/2013 6:26:44 AM PDT by Excellence (All your database are belong to us.)
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To: Excellence
Diesel power runs out when the fuel barrel goes dry.
Better to use propane if it comes to that.
10 posted on 10/19/2013 6:30:15 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks ("Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth.")
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To: markomalley

Fridges take a LOT of solar to run. Lights (especially LEDs) and tech gadgets are easy to keep running, but heat, A/C and fridges are power hungry. Also, I had a shallow hand pump well installed in my back yard. 35’ down to cool fresh water, no electricity required, cost a thousand bucks installed. Don’t forget that if grid power goes down, most public water systems will fail shortly after. Even electric well pumps that run on grid power will fail. You can’t live without water, period.


11 posted on 10/19/2013 6:45:18 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

“Diesel power runs out when the fuel barrel goes dry.
Better to use propane if it comes to that.”

Wouldn’t the propane run out also?


12 posted on 10/19/2013 6:58:02 AM PDT by Lurkina.n.Learnin (If global warming exists I hope it is strong enough to reverse the Big Government snowball)
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To: Travis McGee
I feel like we’re living on a leaky old patched-up life raft, full of broken glass, and circled by sharks.

Which would be OK, except for the politicians who are drilling holes in the bottom and telling us that the water will drain out.

13 posted on 10/19/2013 7:05:34 AM PDT by UCANSEE2 (The monsters are due on Maple Street)
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To: markomalley
Both with inadequate communication protocols and insecurely designed software.

Most of the makers of SCADA systems are stovepipe systems and use security by obscurity. The thought of open architecture that would enable even a ‘https://’ type of basic encryption will not make it into product development because then the manufactures would have to admit there is a security flaw.

14 posted on 10/19/2013 7:13:13 AM PDT by Traveler59 ( Truth is a journey, not a destination.)
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To: Lurkina.n.Learnin
No doubt it would.
But consider a 500 gallon propane tank vs. 50 gallon diesel barrel.
Which one lasts longer ?
15 posted on 10/19/2013 7:20:06 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks ("Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth.")
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To: markomalley

I wonder if things like this will be taken into account for the November grid failure exercise?


16 posted on 10/19/2013 7:24:33 AM PDT by VanShuyten ("a shadow...draped nobly in the folds of a gorgeous eloquence.")
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

If you had a 500 or 1000 gallon diesel tank you could also fun your vehicles.


17 posted on 10/19/2013 7:26:44 AM PDT by Lurkina.n.Learnin (If global warming exists I hope it is strong enough to reverse the Big Government snowball)
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To: All

So...

Does Home Depot et al have good deals on used generators...the ones brought back after the last disaster?


18 posted on 10/19/2013 7:28:28 AM PDT by ROCKLOBSTER (The "government" is nothing but a RAT jobs program)
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To: Travis McGee
Fridges take a LOT of solar to run.

Well, a fridge generally goes through 1 kwh or so per day. If you can end up using a 1 kw system (and, assuming, you have the equivalent of 8 hours of sun a day to run it), you should have plenty of juice for the fridge plus a reasonable number of lights and your FR machine. But not for a/c or electric heat.

19 posted on 10/19/2013 7:39:45 AM PDT by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: Travis McGee
There are some fine 12-24V submersible pumps that will pump up to 230 ft, they are 4 inches diameter, that can be lowered with a rope down to the water line in the same casing as the main pump. Hook up to two car batteries with a solar panel for recharge, good to go.

Won't water the landscape sprinklers, but can shower, shave, cook and poop.

20 posted on 10/19/2013 7:46:16 AM PDT by going hot (Happiness is a momma deuce)
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To: markomalley

The Ethernet interfaces on most SCADA controllers are shipped with default admin passwords in place.


21 posted on 10/19/2013 7:46:30 AM PDT by Noumenon (What would Michael Collins do?)
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To: markomalley

Early 90s. At EPRI, we were running security workshops back then. You would have been amazed at the number of unprotected modems that allowed you access to SCADA systems (in the era of “war dialing”). The most rudimentary steps to protect systems were not taken and it was extremely hard to get the industry concerned and to act.


22 posted on 10/19/2013 8:24:22 AM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: going hot

“shower, shave, cook and poop”...only if the sewage plant receiving your waste is working. You may have to figure out how to dispose of your waste water and sewage on your property if you are connected to a city sewer.


23 posted on 10/19/2013 8:26:21 AM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: markomalley

Nothing will be done to harden the grid. At some point it will be taken down. Count on it. Be thinking about an alternative power source for your own place.


24 posted on 10/19/2013 8:44:41 AM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

“But consider a 500 gallon propane tank vs. 50 gallon diesel barrel.”

If you can obtain a 500 gallon propane tank you can get more than1 55 gallon barrel. Not a fair question. I can find diesel. Propane not so much.


25 posted on 10/19/2013 9:05:03 AM PDT by CodeToad (Liberals are bloodsucking ticks. We need to light the matchstick to burn them off. -786 +969)
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To: CodeToad

Propane is where natural gas pipelines are not.


26 posted on 10/19/2013 2:02:23 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks ("Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth.")
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To: CodeToad
Propane has 91,600 Btu per gallon of liquid (energy content). Figure you can fill a propane tank about 80% full of liquid.

Number 1 diesel is about 136,000 Btu per gallon and Number 2 heating fuel is about 140,000 Btu per gallon.

You can take the math from there. You all might want to bookmark this Comparative Fuel Values for future use.

Propane is essentially universally available in the States. See your Yellow Pages.

27 posted on 10/19/2013 3:24:25 PM PDT by dickmc
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To: ProtectOurFreedom

pipe it to the lib down the street :-)


28 posted on 10/19/2013 4:02:57 PM PDT by going hot (Happiness is a momma deuce)
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