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The US Government is preparing for their response efforts and systems in a simulated attack causing the grid to be shut down by an EMP or cyber attack.
Exercise GridEx IV will run between the 15th and 16th of November as an “exercise to provide an opportunity for utilities to demonstrate how they would respond to and recover from simulated coordinated cyber and physical security threats and incidents”.
The facilitators, the NERC (North American Electric Reliability Corporation) is a nonprofit corporation overseen by the Government and is designed to “ensure the reliability of the North American bulk power system”. The NERC is running GridEx to “help participants strengthen their capacity to respond to and recover from severe events affecting the reliable operation of North America’s bulk electric system”.
While the NERC does not disclose the actual scenario being played out, or the names of the participating organizations in the drill, it is likely the scenario practiced will be either a cybersecurity breach that has caused a grid shutdown or an EMP attack which would effectively fry all electronic devices beyond an unrepairable state that are not covered by a Faraday Cage.
The grid readiness exercise comes after a wide spate of reports from US cybersecurity officials with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security released findings that hackers have used malicious emails, websites and software to work their way into secure networks in both the United States and Europe.
That report, issued by the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team, provides the details of a group of hackers that have targeted, and continue to do so, specifically focussing on the energy and aviation industries.
It might seem like a hacker just has the ability to control a few processes and see what information is present in a system, but with those processes, a hacker can also interrupt the way our power plants operate, and aviation industry works, putting millions of lives at risk.
While this video below is quite aged, from 2007, it is a sample from a report conducted by CNN how a hacker can potentially cause a generator in a power plant to explode:
So just how easy is it for our grid system to be hacked? This report by Tech Insider follows a group of ‘white hat’ hackers to hack into a power station in less than a week. It was pretty easy for them, and this is only a small group. Imagine what a country with ulterior motives might be able to do?
The other limb that has the Government prepping its grid is the possibility of an EMP attack. Sure, it might be more termed an EMP from a solar flare, but there is an impending threat by North Korea about a possible nuclear attack triggering an EMP wave that could wipe out a very exposed electrical grid and our electrical infrastructures: being power, aviation, transport and medical.
As specialists in the industry have pointed out, the effect of an EMP attack on our system would send us back to the dark ages.
This is also an interesting one that InfoWars recent update put us onto as well. They had a tipoff recently about a military communications exercise conducted under the conditions that a “worst-case scenario” event has occurred.
This will run on November 4 by the Military Auxiliary Radio System to conduct an Interoperability Exercise with Amateur Radio Community.
From the last time this type of exercise occurred, the explanation as to the purpose of this exercise was “purpose of this quarterly exercise is train on our ability to provide communications following a “very bad day” scenario when traditional forms of communications will likely be unavailable”. There is more information available on the past MARS COMEX events here.
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