Foreign Hackers Are Regularly Attacking the U.S. Power Grid

Foreign Hackers Are Regularly Attacking the U.S. Power Grid

Foreign Hackers Are Regularly Attacking the U.S. Power Grid

A collapse of the electrical grid is a real and present danger.

A security researcher recently trying to find the hackers responsible for stealing a university’s housing files in California stumbled onto more than he bargained for. He found that cyberattacks had already been waged on the networks operating the U.S. power grid.

According to security expert Brian Wallace, the hackers had taken passwords and engineering drawings of dozens of U.S. power plants. With the information they had, skilled attackers could knock out electricity to millions of homes. A follow-up study by The Associated Press found that about 12 times over the past decade, sophisticated foreign hackers had gained enough access to the power grid to shut off the lights.

The power grid is also vulnerable to a solar storm or to an electromagnetic pulse weapon. Either of these could fry circuits, knocking out power over a wide swath of the U.S. for weeks or longer.

Within just two or three days after a major grid collapsing event, grocery shelves would be empty. It would then be just hours or days before people would be rioting in the streets. The water infrastructure, which is also powered by electricity, would dry up quickly.

It would take days for the government to respond, and initial response will be in the highest population centers. People in outlying areas would be on their own.

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