Hackers Can Now Cause Blackouts On America's Electrical Grid, Report

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Rick Moran via AmericanThinker.com,

It was inevitable that someday, hackers would have the ability to exert control over the U.S. electrical grid.  According to the computer security firm Symantec, someday is today.

Hacking attacks over the last several months that targeted U.S. energy companies have been able to gain "operational control" over systems, thus threatening blackouts across the U.S., says Symantec.

 The hacker group known as DragonFly 2.0 was able to gain control in at least 20 places, according to the firm.

Wired:

Symantec on Wednesday revealed a new campaign of attacks by a group it is calling Dragonfly 2.0, which it says targeted dozens of energy companies in the spring and summer of this year. In more than 20 cases, Symantec says the hackers successfully gained access to the target companies' networks. And at a handful of US power firms and at least one company in Turkey – none of which Symantec will name – their forensic analysis found that the hackers obtained what they call operational access: control of the interfaces power company engineers use to send actual commands to equipment like circuit breakers, giving them the ability to stop the flow of electricity into US homes and businesses.

 

"There's a difference between being a step away from conducting sabotage and actually being in a position to conduct sabotage ... being able to flip the switch on power generation," says Eric Chien, a Symantec security analyst. "We're now talking about on-the-ground technical evidence this could happen in the US, and there's nothing left standing in the way except the motivation of some actor out in the world."

 

Never before have hackers been shown to have that level of control of American power company systems, Chien notes. The only comparable situations, he says, have been the repeated hacker attacks on the Ukrainian grid that twice caused power outages in the country in late 2015 and 2016, the first known hacker-induced blackouts.

 

Security firms like FireEye and Dragos have pinned those Ukrainian attacks on a hacker group known as Sandworm, believed to be based in Russia. But Symantec stopped short of blaming the more recent attacks on any country or even trying to explain the hackers' motives. Chien says the company has found no connections between Sandworm and the intrusions it has tracked. Nor has it directly connected the Dragonfly 2.0 campaign to the string of hacker intrusions at US power companies – including a Kansas nuclear facility – known as Palmetto Fusion, which unnamed officials revealed in July and later tied to Russia.

 

Chien does note, however, that the timing and public descriptions of the Palmetto Fusion hacking campaigns match up with its Dragonfly findings. "It's highly unlikely this is just coincidental," Chien says. But he adds that while the Palmetto Fusion intrusions included a breach of a nuclear power plant, the most serious DragonFly intrusions Symantec tracked penetrated only non-nuclear energy companies, which have less strict separations of their internet-connected IT networks and operational controls.

The first question I would want answered is, if they have that sort of control, why not exercise it?  Why no blackouts or service interruptions in the U.S.?

Hacking Sony or another private business is one thing.  Fooling with our electrical infrastructure is many orders of magnitude more serious.  If a sovereign nation were behind such an event, it would be tantamount to a declaration of war.  Unless the attacking nation was supremely confident that the hack couldn't be traced back to it, the nation would be unlikely to attempt it.

Causing a blackout in a major urban area would almost certainly result in many deaths.  We know this from previous blackouts in New York City, where the 2003 power outage is estimated to have resulted in 100 deaths.  This would be intolerable, and if the attack could be traced back to Russia or China, it would result in retaliation by the U.S.  We're no slouches ourselves when it comes to cyber-warfare, and we could almost certainly make any country pay dearly.

But in a time of war, that kind of control over our electrical grid could wreak havoc and sow confusion and fear among the populace.  In the meantime, it would behoove the government to work with industry to harden our systems to prevent that kind of catastrophe.

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ET's picture

Physical Gold and Silver win again.

Holding hard assets is the crypto endgame.

http://bittrust.org/coinbase

Check out the reviews of customers at Coinbase and other exchanges trying to get their money out.

 

 

ohn - September 3, 2017


STAY AWAY FROM COINBASE!!! THEY STOLE MONEY OUT OF MY ACCOUNT!!! THEY ALSO TRIED TO TAKE $2500 OUT OF MY CHECKING BUT I WAS ABLE TO BLOCK ALL TRANSACTIONS FROM COINBASE BEFORE THEY WERE ABLE TO DEPOSIT INTO MY COINBASE ACCOUNT WHICH WAS SUSPENDED!!! THEY SUSPEND YOUR ACCOUNT THEN TRY TO STEAL YOUR MONEY!!! IF YOUR ACCOUNT IS EVER SUSPENDED YOU MUST CALL YOUR BANK AND HAVE THEM BLOCK ALL TRANSACTIONS FROM COINBASE.COM!!!

Run. August 31, 2017


If banks provided the same service as Coinbase, I am suspect that fines would be imposed upon Coinbase. Coinbase made 3 unauthorized charges to my credit card for $600. In addition, I have not been able to sell the tokens I purchased on Coinbase because their App and website will not function properly. I have sent at least five requests for help with no response. I wonder whether Congress or a federal regulator is aware of the problems people have expressed on this website. To make matters worse, I went to coinbase's headquarters address listed on its website to only find a shut down store front. I have decided to write my Congressional representatives and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. l am hoping that helps. Americans need an exchange that they can rely upon with live customer support. We now have another market where average Americans can not participate in the opportunity to create wealth.

MS - August 31, 2017


My transaction is dated 2nd Aug 2017 STILL PENDING!!! code: GNRUM3BK COINBASE DID REPLY ONCE ONLY SAYING THEY HAVE A PROBLEM AND I HAVE TO WAIT MORE ARE YOU F**ING KIDDING ME!!! 1 MONTH TO HAVE MY MONEY BACK BECAUSE YOU HAVE A SYSTEM PROBLEM??? A BILLION COMPANY THAT HAS ‘SYSTEM’ PROBLEMS??? THERE MUST BE SOMETHING ELSE, BE AWARE!! I withdrawed 15k and NEVER CAME BACK TO MY BANK ACCOUNT!!! PROVIDE YOUR POSTAL ADDRESS AND A REFERENCE PERSON FOR MY LAWYER DOCUMENTS!

Xiaolei Jin - August 30, 2017


Scammers. My first purchase was duplicated, so instead of investing 1000€ I had 2000€. Then they sold automatically my ETHs when arrived to 700€... Surprise! I tried to buy back, but then said I have no EURs... When I complained they blocked my account, and after several weeks, they reactivated it and magically is working now. Of course, ETH raised and I lost most of my money... A completely scam. BTW they are the same as GDAX.

Jason - August 30, 2017


Stay away from these scammers I deposited £10 they charged me a £1 for the privalige then I made a payment for £5 and they charged me £4 total rip off

William - August 28, 2017


yea be very careful with this company. YOU CANT GET YOUR MONEY OUT AND THERE IS NO SUPPORT!!! STAY AWAY!!!!

Chris w - August 23, 2017


Looks like a scam to me...and I have seen scams before. So easy to deposit money and get yourself verified and easy to trade within their website...however, try getting money out. Support is non-existent, no phone number to contact anyone. Why would a company, who apparently have received large funding, not have a support line to quickly resolve queries.

Bonner - August 19, 2017


Terrible. No response to multiple email requests. No way to contact by phone.

Halicoaster - August 14, 2017


Total scam for Canadians! They take your money but you can never withdraw! Zero support! Illegal operator.

VD's picture

butttt you can promise Tulipcoin once the power goes back on, right? like a barter today for two crypt0-unicornz tomorrow.

GUS100CORRINA's picture

Hackers Can Now Cause Blackouts On America's Electrical Grid, Report

My response: MORE GOOD NEWS for today, September 9th, 2017. 

Why NOT? All HELL is breaking loose in selected states in the southeast, lower midwest and northwest, why NOT include the whole DAMN nation in the "tragedy 2017" celebration.

Creepy_Azz_Crackaah's picture

Now all we need is that MASSIVE Global Warning, shriek in horror, post and some huge Schlong Wave advertising posts to fill the rest of the first page of comments with spam.

Ignatius's picture

 How is it that it's always the police or ISIS (or ANTIFA) that wear the balaclavas?

What's that tell us about "terrorism?"

BuddyEffed's picture

The people who put backdoors into operating systems weren't very bright after all. Safe and secure in their persons is a fundamental principle of traditional American values and it should have been extended into the digital software footprint of our citizens. If they took money for including backdoors intentionally that can easily be seen now as being wrong and contrary to traditional American core values.

Never One Roach's picture

If hackers can hack Equifax and steal millions of data over months, I am pretty sure they can do anythnig at this point.

BuddyEffed's picture

From the 4th amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Adding backdoors essentially enables unreasonable search by spy types and unreasonable seizure by hacker types.

The enablers of backdoors could be viewed as being culpable in ways.

Having backdoors in place where public utilities and economic infrastructure are made vulnerable is very poor design.

political_proxy's picture

"...and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Kindly Cop: We have a warrent, move or we will move you.

Victim: Warrent to search what particular spot w/in home? For what thing(s) might be seized within that particular spo... 

Victim falls to the ground bloody, nearly unconcious from Kindly Cops metal club to the side of his face.

...fair chance it was the wrong house, even more likely the Kindly Cops simply busted through the door.

HowdyDoody's picture

This is how you deal with Russian Hackers.

Keyser's picture

If you knew just how antiquated the computing systems are at some of the largest power generation plants actually are, you would be both astounded and terrified... Let's put it this way, the hardware and software is soooo old that they have to bring programmers in the 70's out of retirement just to keep the shit working... I shit you not... 

Veritas X-'s picture

"The people who put backdoors into operating systems weren't very bright after all.....".


I strongly disagree B_E_.

Ever hear of **Operation Talpiot – Israel’s Kill Switches on the World’s Infrastructure** ???

 

"......“IN THIS BLOG POST YOU WILL LEARN –
1) How Israel planned over 40 years ago to dominate the high technology communications sector.

2) How Israel trained officers from Israeli Military Intelligence to become private entrepreneurs. Now they dominate both the public and private high technology sector.

3) How this plan was titled “Operation Talpiot”.

4) How Israel dominates databases of all kinds from banking to medical, to policing, to NSA sub contractors, to government encrypted communications, to video surveillance systems for Class A critical infrastructure.

5) How Israel and Jewish Power have a tradition of the Sayanim or Helper who assist Israeli Intelligence where ever these Jews live and work, anywhere in the world, giving access to all sorts of public and private sensitive locations.

6) How Israel is setting up high technology co-operation schools under The Technion – their premiere research facility. This co-operation is used to infiltrate into the country of interest.”"

https://isolatebutpreserve.blogspot.co.nz/2016/11/israel-greatest-spy-ma...

Try this for starters>>>

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Operation+Talpiot&t=ffcm&ia=web

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Secretive-Talpiot-program-helps-IDF-sol...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42HIxsnLmHs

+

*(From The Wall Street Journal Online) | July 9, 2007

How Elite Military School Feeds Israel's Tech Firms* : http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=558

Use your Critical Thinking Skills!

Spread THIS Info!!

X-

lincolnsteffens's picture

What you have described is no different than what many other nations do including the USA. We just have different names and secret agencies doing the equivalent. They way you present your argument is that only the Israeli's are doing these nefarious acts or Israel is the puppet master over most of the world though it has only been in existence about 70 years.

Get a life and wake up.

max2205's picture

Where's McCain and graham 

ConnectingTheDots's picture

I always believed that US companies such as Microsoft, Symantec, McAfee, Cisco, Apple, etc installed backdoors at the "request" of the US government. Now their "compliance" has placed the entire nation at risk.

WillyGroper's picture

dats da plan for da boogie man.

check this shit out.  i stated the other day they're gonna take the grid down in the next FF.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkYOktAi4to

 

now here, have a laugh at dws' expense.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lu-pRxTeJf8

sgt_doom's picture

Just 23 lines of code. . . . no big deal!

ET's picture

Cryptos are a big scam.

People who have money in crypto exchanges should see whether they could withdraw money from their accounts.

Do a test run of the cashing out process.

Do it before the power fails either at home or at the exchange.

Creepy_Azz_Crackaah's picture

Come on... they're as good at making money as Beanie Babies were.  And Beanie Babies are still around.  Somewhere...

Stormtrooper's picture

Yeah, I just bought a box full of them at Goodwill for a buck.  They make good targets when the beer cans have too many holes in them.

Creepy_Azz_Crackaah's picture

But this crypto Beanie Baby is on eBay for $49,500 (with free shipping so it's a bargain). http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/152676254901

Who the hell would buy that?  Checked the eBay "sold" list and they're going for $2.

 

ET's picture

Beanie Babies are worth about three to five dollars now.

Or about 2% of the peak of the bubble in the late 1990s.

BarkingCat's picture

Yeah, well I remember that hit stripper back in 1997 that would make $3,000 a night with guys stuffing big bills down her g-string.

(this was strictly for her "dancing" on the stage in days before lap dances).

wonder how much she could make today.

ET's picture

For people who have cryptos...

Withdraw a small amount of crypto and see how it goes.

If you have problems withdrawing that sum, you are in trouble.

tion's picture

Crypto=/exchanges, people holding their funds in exchanges are foolish. The btc in my wallet is safer than the frn in my bank if the US grid goes down.

grasha87's picture

I have a solution to the problem of the monetary system based on debt which cause recessions. It's called the wallark, and is a currency based on Say's law: https://bunky1787.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/the-wallark-neo-scrip/

grasha87's picture

I have a solution to the problem of the monetary system based on debt which cause recessions. It's called the wallark, and is a currency based on Say's law: https://bunky1787.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/the-wallark-neo-scrip/

LargeHardonCollider's picture

Hey ET:  your comment has absolutely nothing to do with the subject of this article.  Save your stupid comments for articles on bitcoin.

tmosley's picture

His butthurt is of such a magnitude that he is literally incapable of reading anymore. His brain just substitutes whatever words it wants to for what is actually there and he responds to that.

FreeShitter's picture

He's been outed already as a spammer. 

BarkingCat's picture

If you think that his comment has nothing to do with the article than you are beyond retarded.

 

Karl Marxist's picture

Um, you probably never read their fine print thus playing the victim for what you yourself refused to read. Second, what the fuck does your post hae anything to do with the article at hand? My advice -- keep your cryptos offline and in your possession same as physical silver and gold.

grasha87's picture

I have a solution to the problem of the monetary system based on debt which cause recessions. It's called the wallark, and is a currency based on Say's law: https://bunky1787.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/the-wallark-neo-scrip/

BarkingCat's picture

If the grid goes down, your offline cryptos will be as usefull as your emails stored on your home PC.

dark pools of soros's picture

Dude I warned everyone here THREE fucking years ago about Coinbase... they are good until shit goes sour then they try to fuck with ya... its been known for a long time ace

FullHedge1's picture

Your attention would be better spent on Maxine Waters' cunt than on here.

tmosley's picture

>Be warned against using coinbase multiple times

>There's problems at coinbase

>SEE ALL OF CRYPTO IS A SCAM DON'T THINK ABOUT TULVING.COM OR ANY OTHER PM SCAM JUST BUY SO I CAN CASH OUT I'M FUCKING DYING

Hahaha.

SafelyGraze's picture

from the Wired article:

"Never before have hackers been shown to have that level of control of American power company systems, Chien notes. The only comparable situations, he says, have been the repeated hacker attacks on the Ukrainian grid ... Nor has it directly connected the Dragonfly 2.0 campaign to the string of hacker intrusions at US power companies which unnamed officials revealed in July and later tied to Russia"

oddly, Chien did suspect China

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY9DZayE_3U

 

tion's picture

F Coinbase.

Get your firewood chopped, boys!

By the way, have I ever told the story about the enterprise security chief who got on his hands and knees to lick the shit off of the NSA's boots and stuck a knife in a client's back? Traitors, the whole damn lot of them, the underlings with any shred of integrity and courage get shitcanned with an NDA and severance package held over their heads.

E-Knight's picture

ET have you cashed all your crypto out already? How long you think the gravy train will last?

ET's picture

I cashed out my litecoins. Completely out of cryptos.

As far as how the cryptos would fare, it could resemble a decay curve like a few years ago. There might be some upside but at this point it is like picking up pennies in front of a steamroller. It could also crash like GoPro.

I prefer Physical Gold and Silver. A Gold to Silver ratio above 40 is also extreme. It is over 70 now. So I have been favoring Silver. Many Americans can easily buy Silver Coins and use them for daily transactions.

E-Knight's picture

When did you buy in, and what made you think the crypto game was up?

ET's picture

I bought litecoins for around $40 a couple of months ago and when it reached $93 I sold. The speculative money rode from crypto bubble to crypto bubble. Litecoin was the last major crypto to go parabolic before going bust.

Whoppercoin and the ICO's indicated that the overall level of interest in crypto had reached mania levels.

Jim Rickards also believes that bitcoin and other cryptos are scams. Lots of wash trades to pump the price and difficulty cashing out when you want to.

It is like a shell game where the hook is the cryptography language, but the scam is as old as the simple shell game itself.

E-Knight's picture

I agree with you long term, but why do you think there isnt a few more bubbles?

ET's picture

There might be but then I saw that the Precious Metals sector had started heating up and coinciding with a flattening and then downturn of the cryptos.

A fast-rising Precious Metals sector signals the endgame for cryptos. Hard assets are real wealth and that is where the speculative money is going next.

mpcascio's picture

If we find these people they should be tried as terrorists and if found guilty summarily executed.

ACES FULL's picture

Or, at the very least, they should be fired from their jobs....at the CIA.

koan's picture

That will be difficult when they are located in China/Russia.

crazzziecanuck's picture

No one has ever given me a reason as to why critical infrastructure like this should even have presence on the Internet.  I guess it's a bureaucratic dream to "streamline" the workforce and have sh*t be handled remotely.

spieslikeus's picture

And lead (along with a means to project) to protect it.