The Obama administration simulated a cyber attack on New York City's power supply in a Senate demonstration aimed at winning support for legislation to boost the nation's computer defenses. Senators from both parties gathered behind closed doors in the Capitol Wednesday for the classified briefing attended by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FBI Director Robert Mueller and other administration officials. The mock attack on the city during a summer heat wave was "very compelling," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who is co-sponsoring a cybersecurity bill supported by President Barack Obama. "It illustrated the problem and why legislation is desperately needed," she said as she left the briefing. Bloomberg.
The US defense industry is in a full court press to get tens of billions in funding for cyberwarfare.
To get that funding, they need to dramatize the potential threat of cyberwarfare. Here's how. The central method of attack in cyberwarfare is systems disruption. Systems disruption is a way to break networks to achieve extremely high levels of damage (or, in financial terms, high ROIs). One of the best ways to demonstrate that type of attack is through a disruption of the power supply (usually with NYC as a target).
The problem with this type of presentation is that you don't need cyberwarfare to do take down the electricity to New York City and get away with it. All you need is some household tools, imagination, and some knowledge of what the network looks like (gained by an effort at mapping the connections). Since 99.9999% of the recruits available to most violent groups don't have cyber skills and the impact of a cyber attack and a physical attack are the same, which method do you think will be used? The facts back this up. 99.99% of the intentional system disruption events that have occurred over the last decade have been caused through physical attack and not by cyber attack.
So, in other words, the tens billions we are going to spend on cybersecurity is mostly a waste of time/money. It's not only a waste of money, it's yet another example of how the US national security system is not producing real, tangible security for the people it expects to pay for it. The real solution to network vulnerability? Decentralized production. The tech is available. If the billions spent on cyber were spent on growing local production by building resilient communities, it wouldn't only make us safer it would likely ignite an economic Renaissance.
Unfortunately, to the people running the US/EU, the long term economic success of the citizens they are supposed to represent is not even on their priority list.
If you are interested, here's some analysis on how vulnerable the electricity grid we rely upon is. An evergreen (in that it always yields results) target of global guerrillas, will be the large infrastructure networks that national economies rely upon (as do all modern developed economies). The most critical and complex network is our power grid which contains over 1 m kilometers of high-voltage power lines between 115 -765 kVs. The network can be further subdivided into the following:
- 1,633 generator nodes.
- 2,179 disribution substation nodes.
- 10,287 transmission substation nodes.