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CIA Says Hackers Have Cut Power Grid

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posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 04:16 AM
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Last year in one of the games in the English FA premier league there was a blackout of the area during the game which was being played in the late evening.
They had to delay the game until the power was restored.
The thing was they later found out that it was related to a chinese betting scam.
Just throwing that in there as there is a suggestion of extortion relating to this incident.




posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 08:19 AM
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Originally posted by johnsky
I would still look into the validity of this.

I cannot see a way that infrastructure management would allow the control systems to be linked to the internet.
Intuition tells me that while the data from the usage of the power grid may be relayed to the internet, the control systems themselves would be a separate system altogether.

If this is true, then this needs to go straight to press. The public needs to know that the CIA is intentionally lying to them.

If not, then it still needs to go to press, and a bill needs to pass to make the separation of control systems law.


Honestly people are you that blind? Are you that ignorant? To say there is no way they would put the power grid systems on the internet? Do you not know the origins of the world wide web? If not i suggest you get a lesson in history! They now have wireless meters that automatically report your usage hours to the power company via THE WEB. also sends out a radio signal that anyone within a few miles has access to that information... not a big deal small towns but what about down town tampa? or detroit? or new york city, laziness constantly makes the hackers work that much easier!



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 09:00 AM
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To the naysayers and in some cases the extremely naive, I think your basing your opinion on poor assumptions and bad movies. The notion that there is a fancy glowing desktop with a fat icon saying "click me to disrupt the common good" is daft let alone ignorant. Here are two notable & real life examples that come to mind:

1. Kevin Poulsen. Back in the late 80/90's Kevin Poulsen used self attained knowledge of phone switching systems to basically command and control the greater Los Angeles area. He could do just about anything involving a phone including the surveillance of wiretaps. Yes he was actually in control of wiretaps that were being placed on him staying one step ahead of his captors. He was able to circumvent physical security and in one case he even had the personal notes of the lead agent hot in his pursuit. I'm not trying to showcase the life of a genius hacker but the fact that it can and has been done. Can we draw an apples to apples comparison of phone utilities and power utilities? Perhaps not but there are some stark parallels and unsettling realities.

2. Gary McKinnon. Most here are aware of who this individual is and his actions. Many would agree he was not that capable when viewed as a viable threat. Sure he accessed some questionable material but the point I'm attempting to make here is that he used very basic skills and was fortunate to stumble across and use the stupidity of others who were careless in their assignments.

src en.wikipedia.org...

src en.wikipedia.org...

For some hackers its not the end result its the thrill of the chase. Add some money and you have a formula that can work and work very well for both sides. Nothing is sacred when it comes to security that is overstating the obvious but to trivialize the matter shows how little we've progressed.

brill

[edit on 20-1-2008 by brill]



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 09:44 AM
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Originally posted by DraconianKing

Originally posted by spyder207
FERC, SERC and NERC have all addressed this issue over the last decade and while yes, ten or so years ago a good hacker could wreck havoc over a utility companies servers it is no longer an option.

Systems have been split off to standalone networks with full encryption. There is no way to "hack" into any of the major utilities in the US at this time and cut the power. Some small co-ops maybe, but even then there are automated switches to split them off of the grid if an event occurs.

Sleep well.


Like I said above, if some employee hooks up a modem to his terminal so he can work from home then the network can absolutely be hacked.


And as my post states, you are wrong. Employee terminals are separate. There is no reason to tie a modem into the control. We do not house email and document software with these control systems.



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 10:32 AM
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Yeah also remins me of Die Hard 4. Don't know if its such a good idea to be linking power grids to the internet.



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 10:51 AM
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Yeah, power was out earlier in the morning (16 hours ago). I checked the solar flare news, that wasn't it. In fact the Sun is mysteriously calm (according to NASA) -- 0 sunspots for the past couple of days, even though the new cycle was expected to begin a couple of days ago.

Question: Can a power outage cause the TV to turn purple? Because mine (and that of my neighbours) are all showing reverse colours -- blue is red, red is green and green is blue. The TV was switched off during before the blackout. OFF, not standby. That's why I checked on the solar flares first. Then I saw this news. I don't know if the CIA is lying about the Black Hats or not, but they aren't lying about the power outages.



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 11:00 AM
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My company:

Stand alone transmission data and switching systems.
Some monitoring done by the higher ups, but no control is provided for them.

Stand alone distribution and switching systems.
Same deal for the middle level higher ups.

Stand alone electronic meter reading and billing. etc.
Cuts for non-pay and the like are done on-site at the customers location.

An Internet terminal for areas where it's deemed useful.
The bosses email etc.
This is entirely separate from the above computer systems and they are separate from each other.

Stand alone control power for manual control of stations.


As for the generator blowup, it must have been a special setup.
A generator on the system stays in electrical synchronism or it trips off if there are problems.
Plus, it has its own, local electromechanical protection devices that look at both electrical and mechanical problems.


When Y2K was coming, folks - mainly due to the mainstream media inventing their own news - got a little panicky and figured it was the end of the modern world - sans electricity etc.

What most forgot was, we ran the power system sans computers for many years and there are procedures in place to do the same nowadays.

Electrical outages and the like due to sabotage would be on a small scale - a neighborhood for example - and not far reaching at all.

The comment about a couple of 1-2 second blackouts?
What the poster more than likely saw was a severe voltage dip due to a line fault adjacent to the line and on the same system that serves his meter.
True outages last a minimum of 15-30 seconds and longer.



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 11:10 AM
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Originally posted by Beachcoma
Yeah, power was out earlier in the morning (16 hours ago). I checked the solar flare news, that wasn't it. In fact the Sun is mysteriously calm (according to NASA) -- 0 sunspots for the past couple of days, even though the new cycle was expected to begin a couple of days ago.

Question: Can a power outage cause the TV to turn purple? Because mine (and that of my neighbours) are all showing reverse colours -- blue is red, red is green and green is blue. The TV was switched off during before the blackout. OFF, not standby. That's why I checked on the solar flares first. Then I saw this news. I don't know if the CIA is lying about the Black Hats or not, but they aren't lying about the power outages.



Sunspots aren't the cause for small scale outages . . . defined as a neighborhood or even a small town.

If your TV is an older one with the "quick-on feature" some components are still energized, but I believe modern TVs have all circuits de-energized when the switch is off.

Is your TV and those of your neighbors still damaged?
Any other appliance acting funny or burned up?

It's conceivable your distribution line was exposed to a high voltage - like a line falling onto your line and impressing four - or more - times the voltage on it than normal.
Any time a group of homes or an entire neighborhood has a problem as above, the utility is almost always at fault.

Call your electric company and ask to speak to the claims dept.



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 11:16 AM
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Originally posted by Desert Dawg
Is your TV and those of your neighbors still damaged?
Any other appliance acting funny or burned up?


No. It's working alright (except for the funny colours). Happened once before during a flare event, and the colour returned to normal after a week or so, that's why I thought it was a flare and also why I'm not too concerned (about the messy colours). But the DSL modem was out for a while (about 15 minutes) before it decided to work again. There were also two clocks that stopped dead at the exact time of the outage (4.32 AM). Could be a coincidence, but that's a freaky coincidence.



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 11:18 AM
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Originally posted by johnsky
The CIA is full of **** on this one. (They usually are anyways).

Nobody creates a power grid control system, then links it to the internet.

The power infrastructure is a high priority for local governments, hence, they never rely on internet communications to communicate with each node.

(Imagine how hard it would be to turn the power back on, when those nodes you are trying to start rely on the internet, which also needs power.)


Basically what I am trying to get at is The power grid is a standalone system, and cannot be hacked into from outside.


You can no more hack a power grid from china, than you can hack my pocket-watch from there.


Sure power stations may not communicate with each other over the Internet, however what about people gaining access to networks attached to control consoles through other means. It's totally feasible however I agree with the others who give this person limited credibility given his CIA employment.



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 11:21 AM
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Hmmm, at the hacker convention this past summer/fall someone discovered this exploit, or at least made it public knowledge (they may have discovered it and reported it but not been the first to find the exploit.

That means it could be anybody in the world. Who it gets blamed on is where politics comes in.



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 01:31 PM
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Originally posted by hildar
This is not a good thought but if they could shut the power off couldnt they actually blow up a nuclear plant the same way?

Hilda


It's BS, nuclear power plant control systems aren't connected to the internet.... end of story.



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 02:42 PM
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reply to post by Desert Dawg
 


So you are absolutely sure only terminals connected to "The System" (for lack of better word) are on a seperate network that only these terminals and "The System" are on. That no other computer, server is on that network and it is all hardwired and proprietary software and OS?
And all Power data (users, kilo hours etc) are on different networks and interact in no way with "The System"

So when data is needed from the system, it is written down and typed into a separate system?



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 05:06 PM
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reply to post by johnsky
 


I am a bit skeptical myself. However, most public utilities control and monitor their systems through an Intranet system. It is not directly connected to the Internet, however, since these Intranet systems are often operating on the same computers that have Internet access, it would be possible to hack into a workstation and then access that Intranet.

After that, it would be very difficult, if not impossible to cut power to a city, or even a city block by gaining access to the system. These systems do little more than monitor the grid.

The only way they could affect the actual power supply is if they were able to hack into the control systems of a power generation plant. They might be able to plant a fake emergency situation into the system that would trick the plant controllers to take the plant off line for a while.

But even then, this would not take the grid down, only create a temporary drop in power output since even the smallest local utilities rely on multiple powerplants.

Blackouts are caused by hardware failures. Cascading failures through multiple switching and transformer operations can cause city wide blackouts, but none of these are controlled by computers. If that were the case, the power companies could quickly reroute power supplies so that there would never be a power outage again.



posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 11:17 PM
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Theres no way to hack power grids, CIA just wants us scared and running in circles. I say people start buying guns and water and a hummer because soon your going to start hearing that all citizens need to move inside of domes and CAN NOT breath outside air and it will be for out "HEALTH". Its messed up and even worse is the masses will WANT THIS!!!!!



posted on Jan, 21 2008 @ 10:58 AM
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Originally posted by ShiftTrio
reply to post by Desert Dawg
 


So you are absolutely sure only terminals connected to "The System" (for lack of better word) are on a seperate network that only these terminals and "The System" are on. That no other computer, server is on that network and it is all hardwired and proprietary software and OS?
And all Power data (users, kilo hours etc) are on different networks and interact in no way with "The System"

So when data is needed from the system, it is written down and typed into a separate system?




The system computers transmit data on the 'control' computer network.
So the data you need, plant loading, line loading, circuit breakers open or closed all report together in real time.

It is a stand alone system.



posted on Jan, 21 2008 @ 11:18 AM
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reply to post by Desert Dawg
 

that makes sense, just one more Q, so is that data ever combined with data from users etc Data that it doesn't have to create reports. You know what I mean, Bill I need a DB of this data from the "System Network" I would imagine someone would at some point. Do they just burn things like that to CD to use on the outside network.
I am glad to hear it is a total seperate system. What does the plant use Oracle for? Just Business data etc?

PS are you IT for a Power Company.

Thanks!



posted on Jan, 21 2008 @ 11:28 AM
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"I am a bit skeptical myself. However, most public utilities control and monitor their systems through an Intranet system. It is not directly connected to the Internet, however, since these Intranet systems are often operating on the same computers that have Internet access, it would be possible to hack into a workstation and then access that Intranet. "

The different computer systems are separate, stand-alone systems.
You can't control one from the other.
I had a U-shaped operating station with five different computer systems reporting in and each had their own keyboard or other control device.
Done this way in my company and I'm sure other companies were the same.


"After that, it would be very difficult, if not impossible to cut power to a city, or even a city block by gaining access to the system. These systems do little more than monitor the grid."

Some of the lower voltage stuff is monitored only, but the high voltage system is controllable, loading, switches etc. from the system computer.

System defined as what some call "The Grid."
So my system could be called the "A" system, and an adjacent utility could be called the "B" system and so on.
All the systems are tied together into a large grid.
The Western US for example.
Each individual system can monitor and operate their equipment and in some cases monitor some of the adjacent utilities equipment, but not operate it.



"The only way they could affect the actual power supply is if they were able to hack into the control systems of a power generation plant. They might be able to plant a fake emergency situation into the system that would trick the plant controllers to take the plant off line for a while."
If is a key point here.

"If" someone could hack in and it's highly doubtful.


"But even then, this would not take the grid down, only create a temporary drop in power output since even the smallest local utilities rely on multiple powerplants."
True, most times the loss of a generator is not noticed by the public.


"Blackouts are caused by hardware failures."
True for the most part.


"Cascading failures through multiple switching and transformer operations can cause city wide blackouts, but none of these are controlled by computers. "

Not true.
Most of them are controlled and most times it takes operator intervention to make a change.



"If that were the case, the power companies could quickly reroute power supplies so that there would never be a power outage again."

There will always be power outages.
We try hard to keep it to a minimum, but power disseminating devices - lines etc. - are exposed to the elements and many outside things play a part.
Lightning, hardware failures as mentioned previously etc.

Re-routing power supplies is a movie derived train of thought.
Obtaining power from a different source if necessary is done at lower distribution level voltages, but for the high voltage system, it's arranged in such a manner that there is sufficient duplication of equipment to keep the power going in all but the most severe situations.




As a small aside, have you seen the TV ad for Pavix I think it is?
Power doesn't come back on like that.

The whole city or area lights up at once or smaller areas will light up one at a time.
Same deal when the lights go out, you may see thm flicker, but when they go out it's pretty much in the same area all at once.

[edit on 21-1-2008 by Desert Dawg]



posted on Jan, 21 2008 @ 11:38 AM
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Originally posted by ShiftTrio
reply to post by Desert Dawg
 

that makes sense, just one more Q, so is that data ever combined with data from users etc Data that it doesn't have to create reports. You know what I mean, Bill I need a DB of this data from the "System Network" I would imagine someone would at some point. Do they just burn things like that to CD to use on the outside network.
I am glad to hear it is a total seperate system. What does the plant use Oracle for? Just Business data etc?

PS are you IT for a Power Company.


IT =Instrument Technician? = No.

Titles change over the years, perhaps the best description for me would be (retired) Bulk Power System Disatcher.

Not sure what Oracle would have been used for.

Some required information at the dispatch center would have been from larger transmission voltage level customers.
We would read the outgoing load on lines to the customer and - except for running the system as a whole - that's about all we needed.

If someone in planning, engineering etc. needed load figures for a project etc. they' call and request a report that we would do from our records.
Hard copy stuff most times, but if it was on a disc it would be from a stand alone office PC.


Thanks!



[edit on 21-1-2008 by Desert Dawg]



posted on Jan, 21 2008 @ 12:34 PM
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Thats good to know actually, lets hope they haven't upgraded the network to be more streamlined since then, quite a few Power companies have switched to Oracle, doesnt mean they are running anything but business numbers on them. Could just be the accounting division.

Thanks for the replies!



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