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The objectives of the NERC Grid Security Exercise (GridEx) series are to exercise the current readiness of participating Electricity Sub-sector entities to respond to a cyber incident and provide input for
security program improvements to the bulk power system. GridEx is a biennial international grid security exercise that uses best practices and other contributions from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
NERC conducted the first sector-wide grid security exercise, GridEx 2011, on November 16-17, 2011. The exercise was designed to validate the readiness of the Electricity Sub-sector to respond to a cyber incident, strengthen utilities’ crisis response functions, and provide input for internal security program improvements. The GridEx 2011 after-action report is below.
On November 13-14, 2013, GridEx II will exercise NERC and industry crisis response plans and identify actionable improvement recommendations for plans, security programs, and skills. The scenario will build on lessons learned from GridEx 2011 and include both cybersecurity and physical security components.
The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Charleston (SSCC), Code 50 is tasked to procure, deliver and install high frequency (HF) radio communications equipment for the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA). This contract shall provide systems meeting all requirements specified in the solicitation. The FEMA National Radio System (FNARS) is a HF radio network which provides essential emergency communications capabilities between federal, state, and local governments during emergencies or disasters.
The FNARS upgrade will utilize Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) capability in accordance with MIL-STD-188.141B (2G) and frequency shift keying (FSK) capability in accordance with MIL-STD-188-110B. MIL-STD-188-141C (3G) ALE capability will be installed upon third generation availability. The FNARS HF system will be utilized to transmit and receive secure and non-secure voice and data. Data shall include, but not limited to, e-mail, text messages and images. Data rate requirements are expected to be range between 9,600 and 19,200 bauds per second (BPS). A typical FNARS system will include operator consoles, HF radio transmission and reception equipment, RF matrices and antennas. A FEMA Ethernet switch and router will provide Network Control Center (NECOS), Federal Regional Center (FRC) and Regional Office (RO) system connectivity to the FEMA Wide Area Network (WAN) and will permit remote operation and control of these networked HF radio systems by NECOS, FRC or RO locations.
Government launches test to see how public reacts to emergency text alerts. The Government is to test an SMS alert system in Glasgow, Suffolk and Yorkshire to help gauge public reaction to receiving texts about emergency situations. Customers will be able to sign up to receive text alerts. Around 50,000 texts are expected to be sent and pilots will take place in Easingwold, in North Yorkshire, Leiston, in Suffolk, and Glasgow city centre. Mobile operators EE, Vodafone and O2 are to help with the trials, said the Cabinet Office, which is spearheading the tests. The message itself will make clear that it is only a test and I do not want the public to be alarmed in any way. The pilot will compare two systems: the cell broadcast system (CBS) used in the US and the Netherlands, and a location-based SMS system deployed in Australia. CBS sends text-like messages to all devices in a given cell area while location-based SMS systems send text messages to all numbers in a specific location. CBS operates on a different channel to voice and SMS (texts) and therefore does not suffer from nor contribute to network congestion, according to the Cabinet Office. Francis Maude, Cabinet Office minister, said he welcomed the operators involvement in the trials, adding the mobile alerts would be an essential part of the Government’s drive to improve the safety of UK residents. "The Government will conduct separate tests later this year to look at a how different technologies work and how the public react when they receive an emergency alert to their phone,” he said. “The message itself will make clear that it is only a test and I do not want the public to be alarmed in any way. We are also looking for help from the public in evaluating how well the tests worked and how they felt about receiving messages in this way, and we would welcome the public’s views.” He added that getting SMS messages to people in an emergency was important.
Emergency alert system. Am I the only one that finds a real lack of information or reasoning behind them doing such an ongoing and extensive test of the system? I mean yes back in 2011 they did a one time alert with plenty of public forewarning, that was understandable, but this just seems different. If they do it for this amount of time will people get to where they do not heed an actual warning when it does come or just ignore it completely like my visitor did today seeing it as an annoyance and pausing the tv rather being interested?
Or on the other hand, is this to get people acclimated to the system so that when it is actually used for an emergency it will not be quite so alarming? Since this is connected at the hip with Weather and Homeland Security, the whole thing due to my lack of knowledge or understanding gives me a terrible feeling about what the next 4-5 months could mean weather wise. The thing is, when weather gets really bad power goes out, so this system would pretty much be useless.
I hate that they treat people unless trained by them as morons who do not need to know. I not only need to know, I deserve to be informed, and so do you.