Vulnerabilities / Threats

8/3/2018
12:20 PM
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Dept. of Energy to Test Electrical Grid Against Cyberattacks

This is the first time the Department of Energy will test the electrical grid's ability to recover from a blackout caused by cyberattacks.

Can the electrical grid bounce back from a blackout caused by hackers?

The Department of Energy wants to find out, so it's launching the first hands-on exercise to test the grid's ability to recover from a blackout caused by cyberattacks, E&E News reports. Its weeklong experiment, dubbed "Liberty Eclipse," will take place starting Nov. 1 on a restricted area off the New York coast called Plum Island.

Experts want to replicate the process of restarting the power grid while addressing an attack on the United States' electric, oil, and natural gas infrastructure. Their goal is to learn how industry might execute its response to a major incident – a sign of the DoE's increasing interest in arming against digital threats to the country's energy system.

Over the course of the test, participants will work to kick-start attack recovery and energize a "blackstart cranking path" by detecting the attack, eliminating the attackers, and getting crank path digital systems up and running, the DoE states in a memo. Previous tests have avoided testing "blackstart" in an effort to stay on track with their other goals.

Read more details here.

 

 

 

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epikqq
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epikqq,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/7/2018 | 4:12:53 PM
epikqq
nice
BrianN060
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BrianN060,
User Rank: Ninja
8/7/2018 | 11:39:47 AM
Re: Just a small test - a simple one...
Your reference to testing with only small scale attacks, against a sandboxed power grid is valid; but the components in that test grid likely are identical to those used in the national grid.  That will let DOE gather some useful data - though not providing much certainty as to how the vastly more complicated (and perhaps complex), system will react.  Keep in mind: our cyber enemies can't have a better insight into the effects of an all-out cyber-attack on our grid, than we have.  

I wonder if they'll let some attacks through purposefully, to see how long it takes to replace components and restore the system.  Again, useful; but not very, if we don't stockpile the components ahead of a real attack. 

As to the 1940 offensive: the French could only mount limited attacks, due to their commitment (financial, doctrinal, organizational, political and otherwise), to a static defense.  That's a lesson for our cyber-security doctrine as a whole: we can't rely on our version of a Maginot Line; we have to be ready to take it to our cyber enemies - and make sure they know we can and will. 

Not sure, but think it was also Gamelin who, after the fall of France decried "That's what you get from decades of socialist government."  I take that to mean setting priorities in line with an agenda directed toward satisfying domestic political demands, rather than preparations and commitment to meet aggression with aggression. 
reluctantinterlocutor
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reluctantinterlocutor,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/7/2018 | 8:55:25 AM
Gold King Mine spill
I am reminded of similar word-ology just before the Gold King Mine spill, of course that was EPA and not DOE, completely different animals :laugh:. 
REISEN1955
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REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
8/7/2018 | 8:11:16 AM
Just a small test - a simple one...
Words spoken by General Gamelin who commanded the French army in 1940 in attacks into Germany before the BIG ONE came in on May 10, 1940.  Gamelin just did little tiny probe attacks, meaningless while the Germans stockpiled tanks and aircraft for a modern campaign.   The comparison works.  Plum Island?  I don't think that replicates the complexity of the modern power grid.   Should be fun to watch though.  
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