By Aliya Sternstein Nextgov November 27, 2012
A previously classified 2007 National Academies report on power grid vulnerabilities that, coincidentally, was declassified mid-November when many Hurricane Sandy victims remained in the dark after widespread power outages, stated that cyberattacks, unlike natural disasters, probably could not cause lengthy blackouts. But that was not true at the time nor is it now.
Five years later, the risk of hackers severely disrupting electricity service is higher, Homeland Security Department officials told Nextgov on Tuesday.
The Oct. 29 superstorm opened the public’s eyes to the potential for societal disorder during prolonged manmade or naturally caused service disruptions.
Concerns about cyber intrusions at electric utilities “stem from a whole new range of threat vectors,” Thad Odderstol, a director for Homeland Security’s Office of Cybersecurity and Communication, said in an interview. “You’ve got control systems that may have an Internet connection.”
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