An increased risk from Islamic terrorists and multiple assaults on U.S. companies from places like China and Russia show that risks to the electric grid are on the rise.
“A widely circulated white paper by Symantec in June cited an “ongoing cyber-espionage campaign” against the energy sector by a shadowy hacker group known as Dragonfly. The report added that energy grid operators, utilities, oil and gas firms were at risk—not just domestically, but abroad as well. Additionally, others say the industry has far more work to do in the face of rapidly multiplying challenges to U.S. interests.”
In September and October of 2014 a large solar storm coming from heightened sun activity had scientists spooked that the electric grid could be compromised,
“A “strong” solar flare that launched off the sun Wednesday afternoon could cause some fluctuations in Earth’s power grid and slight disturbances in satellites and radio transmissions on Friday and Saturday.
Major disruptions are not expected, even though the flare was on the high end of the solar flare scale. Wednesday’s flare followed a weaker flare late Monday.
“We expect geomagnetic storm levels in the G2 (moderate) and G3 (strong) range,” said NOAA space weather forecaster Bill Murtagh.”
The scary aspect to a solar flare storm if destructive enough is that it could permanently take out the electric grid and would require months of rebuilding.
Hacking into the electric grid for the purpose of disrupting electric supply to critical internet infrastructure has been reported on multiple occasions.
“There were two separate physical breaches at a Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Silicon Valley substation that have heightened security fears within the industry. A PG&E spokesman told CNBC that the utility company plans to spend $100 million over the next three years “to enhance security at our critical facilities.”
These are just some of the scary things the electric grid has to deal with this Halloween and the threat is real and may one day affect all of us.