Recent world events, including two successful cyber attacks on the Ukrainian power grid and evidence of hacking on the US grid have changed the experts' assessment of how vulnerable the US electric grid is at this time. WIRED does a good job describing the tangible steps and the recent collaboration of the Nation's top defense scientists and representatives of the leading energy companies. Time to start figuring out what we will do AFTER the US grid goes black.
So begins WIRED's tale of how our top engineers and scientists came to accept that our electrical grid is in a state known as "Assume Breach". What this means is that there has not been an attack on our fragile and hard-working grid, but the experts have found the footprints - forensic evidence - that bad actors have been electronically 'roaming' the complex control systems at our most sophisticated and essential utilities - at will and without being detected. These events mirror the first steps that were taken by Russia in 2 years of breaching the Ukraine electrical grid -- but actually bringing those grids down to a 'black start' condition. And in some cases purposely 'bricked'. For example, much of the communications gear was not even repairable -- and required new equipment to be ordered, configured and installed. Not a rapid process. With this in mind DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) came up with the idea of fast forwarding past defending the grid and going directly to dealing with a hacked grid and building a tool kit to bring the systems back on line before the fabric of society begins to fray. It's not a crazy thought that a few weeks without power could be a game changer for our country. One thing is certain - if our business leaders in all industries - particularly our critical infrastructure - fail to plan for these contingencies the bad outcomes and costs will be greatly amplified.