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U.S. Power Grid Under Attack

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by JBond, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    U.S. Power Grid Under Attack

    WASHINGTON — Cyberspies have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, according to current and former national-security officials.

    The spies came from China, Russia and other countries, these officials said, and were believed to be on a mission to navigate the U.S. electrical system and its controls. The intruders haven't sought to damage the power grid or other key infrastructure, but officials warned they could try during a crisis or war.

    "The Chinese have attempted to map our infrastructure, such as the electrical grid," said a senior intelligence official. "So have the Russians."

    The espionage appeared pervasive across the U.S. and doesn't target a particular company or region, said a former Department of Homeland Security official. "There are intrusions, and they are growing," the former official said, referring to electrical systems. "There were a lot last year."

    Many of the intrusions were detected not by the companies in charge of the infrastructure but by U.S. intelligence agencies, officials said. Intelligence officials worry about cyber attackers taking control of electrical facilities, a nuclear power plant or financial networks via the Internet.

    Authorities investigating the intrusions have found software tools left behind that could be used to destroy infrastructure components, the senior intelligence official said. He added, "If we go to war with them, they will try to turn them on."

    Officials said water, sewage and other infrastructure systems also were at risk.

    Click here to read the full Wall Street Journal report.
  2. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    I believe these two stories are connected. Is this fear mongering to allow Obama more control of the private sector or is this a legitimate need for our security?

    Senate Legislation Would Federalize Cybersecurity:
    Rules for Private Networks Also Proposed

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/31/AR2009033103684_pf.html

    By Joby Warrick and Walter Pincus
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Wednesday, April 1, 2009; A04



    Key lawmakers are pushing to dramatically escalate U.S. defenses against cyberattacks, crafting proposals that would empower the government to set and enforce security standards for private industry for the first time.

    The proposals, in Senate legislation that could be introduced as early as today, would broaden the focus of the government's cybersecurity efforts to include not only military networks but also private systems that control essentials such as electricity and water distribution. At the same time, the bill would add regulatory teeth to ensure industry compliance with the rules, congressional officials familiar with the plan said yesterday.

    Addressing what intelligence officials describe as a gaping vulnerability, the legislation also calls for the appointment of a White House cybersecurity "czar" with unprecedented authority to shut down computer networks, including private ones, if a cyberattack is underway, the officials said.

    How industry groups will respond is unclear. Jim Dempsey, vice president for public policy at the Center for Democracy and Technology, which represents private companies and civil liberties advocates, said that mandatory standards have long been the "third rail of cybersecurity policy." Dempsey said regulation could also stifle creativity by forcing companies to adopt a uniform approach.

    The legislation, co-sponsored by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), was drafted with White House input. Although the White House indicated it supported some key concepts of the bill, there has been no official endorsement.

    Many of the proposals were based on recommendations of a landmark study last year by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

    Currently, government responsibility for cybersecurity is split: The Pentagon and the National Security Agency safeguard military networks, while the Department of Homeland Security provides assistance to private networks. Previous cybersecurity initiatives have largely concentrated on reducing the vulnerability of government and military computers to hackers.

    A 60-day federal review of the nation's defenses against computer-based attacks is underway, and the administration has signaled its intention to incorporate private industry into those defenses in an unprecedented way.

    "People say this is a military or intelligence concern, but it's a lot more than that," Rockefeller, a former intelligence committee chairman, said in an interview. "It suddenly gets into the realm of traffic lights and rail networks and water and electricity."

    U.S. intelligence officials have warned that a sustained attack on private computer networks could cause widespread social and economic havoc, possibly shutting down or compromising systems used by banks, utilities, transportation companies and others.

    The Rockefeller-Snowe measure would create the Office of the National Cybersecurity Adviser, whose leader would report directly to the president and would coordinate defense efforts across government agencies. It would require the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish "measurable and auditable cybersecurity standards" that would apply to private companies as well as the government. It also would require licensing and certification of cybersecurity professionals.

    The proposal would also mandate an ongoing, quadrennial review of the nation's cyberdefenses. "It's not a problem that will ever be completely solved," Rockefeller said. "You have to keep making higher walls."

    Last week, Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair told reporters that one agency should oversee cybersecurity for government and for the private sector. He added that the NSA should be central to the effort.

    "The taxpayers of this country have spent enormous sums developing a world-class capability at the National Security Agency on cyber," he said.

    Blair acknowledged there will be privacy concerns about centralizing cybersecurity, and he said the program should be designed in a way that gives Americans confidence that it is "not being used to gather private information."
  3. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Bad Santa Staff Member

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    [IMG]

    It's a Fire Sale.
  4. TheCount

    TheCount Pixel Pusher

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    Is this before or after he kills a helicopter with a car?
  5. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Bad Santa Staff Member

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    The picture is before...I think he talks about the fire sale after. :D
  6. TheCount

    TheCount Pixel Pusher

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    [IMG]
  7. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Bad Santa Staff Member

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    :laugh1: Obama has got a vitaligo (sp?) problem with his hands.

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