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We’ve Been Warned: Russia ‘Has Figured Out How To Crash A Power Grid With A Click’

We’ve Been Warned: Russia ‘Has Figured Out How To Crash A Power Grid With A Click’

Photographer: Dan Nguyen. Flickr / Creative Commons / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

KIEV, Ukraine — Experts believe that Russian hackers took down a portion of Ukraine’s power grid again earlier this month, and the same experts say similar attacks would be easier and do more damage in the United States.

“It’s very concerning that these same actors, using similar capabilities and tradecraft, are preparing and are getting access to these business networks, getting access to portions of the power grid,” Rob Lee, a former cyberwarfare officer for the U.S. military, told CBS News.

Some power companies in the U.S. have weaker security than the Ukraine, Lee said.

A distribution station that supplies one-fifth of the power to Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, suddenly shut down without warning early Dec. 18, Reuters reported.

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The hackers used a simple method to infiltrate the power grid: sending emails with infected attachments to employees. That allowed them to steal their logins and cut the circuit breakers at about 60 substations.

“It was illogical and chaotic,” Vasyl Pemchuk, the electric control center manager in Kiev, told CBS. “It seemed like something in a Hollywood movie.”

Lee thinks it could take days or even weeks to restart the U.S. power grid after such an attack — because the U.S. grid is so complex.

“We can’t just look at the Ukraine attack and go ‘oh we’re safe against that attack,’” Lee said. “Even if we just lose a portion, right? If we have New York City or Washington, D.C., go down for a day, two days, a week, what does life look like at that point?”

Pemchuk said workers watched their computers being taken over by hackers and could do nothing except film it all with their smart phones.

CBS reported that “Russia has figured out how to crash a power grid with a click.”

Ukrainian security officials believe their nation’s infrastructure has been under cyberattack from Russia for months. The Ukraine is currently locked in civil war with Russian-backed separatists.

On Dec. 23, 2015, hackers cut off power to half the homes in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of the Ukraine.

Do you believe something similar could happen in the U.S.? Is America prepared? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You Prepared For Extended Blackouts? Read More Here.

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5 comments

  1. With Obama screaming “you hacked our election & we are going to get even” without evidence, look out you may be next. And whose fault will that be? Sure hope he doesn’t drag Canada into the mess. But with our “selfie addict” for a prime minister who knows.

  2. I have no idea why anyone has some concept that the entire utility grid is connected to the internet directly. If any utility is so stupid to do something like this then all of the middle and upper management needs to be fired yesterday. It would not matter if the IT department says it is secure and thus can keep their job. Fire the lot of them if any computer is even indirectly connected this way.

    • Uh do you not realize that its all computer managed? Smart GRID and Smart meters?
      Its been connected for years…its not literally on the internet so people can play on web, its all connected via secure networks and VPN backbones..but its all interconnected to various substations and managed nodes…so it has to be on a network and ALL networks can get hacked..its the way of the world.

  3. If anything is going to take down the grid or the internet in some manner, it’s going to be the 17-19 year old computer hacker who makes viruses and worms in his spare time, just because they like to cause some chaos. Most computer viruses that have caused major problems in the past 30 years were often a result of students trying new things out. Hell the computer virus itself was even created by students at MIT, so I expect any kind of damage is going to either be natural, or come as a result of some kids hatred for the world.

  4. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh is all i can say to this

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