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U.S. Power Grid Vulnerable To Russia And China Cyber Attacks

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It’s not only natural disasters and extraordinary cold temperatures that can wreak havoc on the American power grid. Directors of America’s top intelligence agencies warn that both Russia and China have the capability now to cause power outages in the country via cyber attacks.

As early as November 2014, there were reports that China and “probably one or two other” countries can shut down the nation’s power grid as well as other critical infrastructure with a cyber attack. It wasn’t just anyone who first brought that to the attention of the U.S. public. In this case, it was Admiral Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and head of U.S. Cyber Command and he made the claim before the House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee.

As early as 2014, Admiral Rodgers said that the United States has detected malware from China and elsewhere on U.S. computer systems. The malware enables a shut down of the power grid and very segmented and tailored parts of the country’s infrastructure that provide services to U.S. citizens, Rogers told the House of Representative’s Committee on Intelligence on November 20, 2014.

In the same CNN story , it was reported that Mandinat, a cyber-security firm, found that hackers working for China pierced American public utility systems, which services everything from power generation to the movement of water and fuel across the United States.

Moreover, Reuters reported in January 2016 that Russia was suspected of causing a black out of parts of Ukraine in December 2015. According to the report, the attack took place on December 23, 2015 and lasted several hours. It affected tens of thousands of people and was reported by Ukraine power authorities in Kiev, the capital, and in the western section of the country.

The power authorities said that control systems used to coordinate remote substations were disabled in the cyber attack.

Bloomberg News reported in March 2018 that Russian hackers are conducting a broad assault on the U.S. electric grid, water processing plants, air transportation facilities and other targets in rolling attacks on some of the country’s most sensitive infrastructure, according to U.S. government officials.

This was the first official confirmation that Russia was attempting to affect infrastructure in the United States mean to service hundreds of millions of Americans.

Bloomberg had also reported in July 2017 that Russian hackers had breached more than a dozen power plants in seven states, an aggressive campaign that has expanded to dozens of states, according to investigators involved with the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Rick Perry, Secretary of the Department of Energy, said that cyber attacks are “literally happening hundreds of thousands of times a day.”

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have analyzed the attacks and say that hackers first breach suppliers and third-party vendors and use them to hop into networks that get them to their ultimate targets.

Be Prepared

Owning a standby generator that can provide electricity to your home in case of a blackout is not only a concern during hurricanes, floods, snowstorms, and extreme cold or heat. It has become a national security necessity.

Today’s generators include technologies like Wi-Fi, for easy and remote control from wherever you are on Earth.

Having a generator will ensure that a power outage won’t spoil food or medications that need to be refrigerated. A generator can also prevent frozen or damaged pipes that could result in major problems that you may not be able to fix until spring.

In the 1960s, security fears caused many Americans to build fallout shelters in the backyard of their homes. Today, due to cybersecurity, any neighborhood in the United States can be plunged into a blackout.

Visit the website of AP Electric of Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin for a review of some of the best-known brands of generators including Cummins,  WestinghouseKohlerBriggs & StrattonGenerac, and Guardian. The website also includes a  generator sizing calculator and offers information on how to select the proper generator for your situation.