Cyber attack could threaten US power grid

Comrent is providing solutions for mission-critical power testing infrastructure.

In the age of the Internet, ever-advancing technologies, and international intelligence, combined with the threat of terrorism and cyber attacks, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your nation’s critical infrastructure is protected.

Newsweek reported last week that some countries, like China, have the ability to launch a cyber-attack that could shut down the entire U.S. power grid and other critical infrastructure, according to the head of the National Security Agency (NSA) and U.S. Cyber Command.

Admiral Michael Rogers revealed that software had been detected in China as well as “two other nations” that could significantly damage the nation’s economic future by interfering with power company networks and other critical systems. "It is only a matter of the ‘when’, not the ‘if’, that we are going to see something traumatic," he revealed.

According to cyber expert Caroline Baylon of thinktank Chatham House, the interconnectedness of power grids means that they are liable to “cascading failures”. As nearby grids take up the slack for the failed system, they become overloaded and they too fail in a chain reaction.

Rogers said that such attacks are part of “coming trends” in which so-called zero-day vulnerabilities in U.S. cyber systems are exploited.

The article explains that a zero-day vulnerability refers to a hole in software that is unknown to the vendor, which can be exploited by hackers before the vendor becomes aware and hurries to patch it up. These are becoming an increasingly powerful weapon of cyber espionage as countries become more connected to the internet. In addition to espionage, there are also fears of cyber warfare…

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