China may be waging an invisible war on the United States power grid.
A previous news report about cyber warfare threats on the grid appears to coin with a more recent order for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to prepare for war. Chinese president Xi Jinping spewed 7,500-plus words of “militaristic rhetoric” to state media pertaining to preparedness efforts by the largest army in the world.
Meanwhile, the US power grid has reportedly been under a constant state of attack by English-speaking Chinese computer experts nestled in a rather unimposing building in Shanghai, ABC News reported last year. The alleged cyber attacks by the computer hackers pose as significant a threat to America as the two million soldiers in Chinese army ever could, if the cyber warfare studies by the Mandiant security firm are accurate.
One of the top targets of the People’s Liberation Army is allegedly Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contractor in the United States. Government officials have acknowledged the distinct similarities between the F-35 fighter jet and a version of the plane manufactured in China.
Crippling the power grid would be perhaps the quickest way to destroy the American economy and decrease the effectiveness of the United States military. The People’s Liberation Army would not have to step foot on American soil or fire a single shot in order to win a virtual silent war.
And it’s not simply China that may want to take down the grid.
Iran hackers, too, are trying to take down American’s infrastructure. Richard Bejtlich, the chief security officer at Mandiant, a cyber security company, said Iran may be more dangerous than China.
“Iran is much more willing to be destructive,” he told MotherJones.com. “[Iran hackers will] go ahead and delete computers, they corrupt them, and they cause a lot of trouble.”
As Off The Grid News reported, a still-unsolved 2013 attack on a San Jose power station that occurred just a few hours after the Boston Marathon bombing garnered little media attention. US Rep. Henry Waxman helped bring the event to light and feels that incident could indicate a broader power grid security problem.
“It is clear that the electric grid is not adequately protected from physical or cyber attacks,” Waxman stated during a regulatory issues meeting in December. The Congressman deemed the power grid incident an “unprecedented and sophisticated” electrical grid attack.
Massoud Amin, director of the Technological Leadership Institute and professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Minnesota, said the grid indeed is vulnerable. He told the Colorado Springs Gazette:
The sky is not falling, but we’re not bulletproof. … The solution deals with policy and technology and we can do it. We need to. We can and we must do this if we are going to remain an economic superpower. Bottom line is that this is not something we can pass onto the next generation.
An older cyber warfare report published by The Telegraph claims that both China and Russia may have “dropped bugs” into power grid software that could ultimately be used to disrupt the electrical system supply. “The Chinese have attempted to map our infrastructure, such as the electrical grid. So have the Russians,” an unidentified senior intelligence official stated during a Wall Street Journal interview.
In addition to the power grid, the government intelligence staffer also believes that the water and sewer infrastructure systems were at risk from Chinese and Russian cyber hackers, as well. The United States Defense Department spent approximately $100 million repairing cyber warfare damage during just a six month period in 2009.