[p2p-research] Slashdot | Massive Power Outages In Brazil Caused By Hackers

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Wed Nov 11 22:39:44 CET 2009

More on this:
   "Hardware: How Vulnerable Is *Our* Power Grid"
   "Recently it was divulged that the Brazilian power infrastructure was 
compromised by hackers. Then it was announced that it was apparently faulty 
equipment. A downplay to the global public or an honest clarification? 
Either way, it raises the question: how vulnerable are we, really? With 
winter and all its icy glory hurtling towards those of us in the northern 
hemisphere, how open are we to everything from terrorist threats to simple 
'pay me or else' schemes?"

"SAO PAULO, Brazil — A massive 2007 electrical blackout in Brazil has been 
newly blamed on computer hackers, but was actually the result of a utility 
company’s negligent maintenance of high voltage insulators on two 
transmission lines. That’s according to reports from government regulators 
and others who investigated the incident for more than a year."

--Paul Fernhout

Paul D. Fernhout wrote:
> http://it.slashdot.org/story/09/11/09/0012226/Massive-Power-Outages-In-Brazil-Caused-By-Hackers 
> "CBS reports on 60 minutes that a massive two-day power outage in 
> Brazil's Espirito Santo State affecting more than three million people 
> in 2007, and another, smaller event in three cities north of Rio de 
> Janeiro in January 2005, were perpetrated by hackers manipulating 
> control systems. Former Chief of US National Intelligence Retired Adm. 
> Mike McConnell says that the 'United States is not prepared for such an 
> attack' and believes it could happen in America. 'If I were an attacker 
> and wanted to do strategic damage to the United States, I would either 
> take the cold of winter or the heat of summer,' says McConnell, 'I would 
> probably sack electric power on the US East Coast, maybe the West Coast 
> and attempt to cause a cascading effect.' Congressman Jim Langevin says 
> that US power companies need to be forced to deal with the issue after 
> they told Congress they would take steps to defend their operations but 
> did not follow up. 'They admit that they misled Congress. The private 
> sector has different priorities than we do in providing security. Their 
> bottom line is about profits,' says Langevin. 'We need to change their 
> motivation so that when see vulnerability like this, we can require them 
> to fix it.' McConnell adds that a similar attack to the one in Brazil is 
> poised to take place on US soil and that it may take some horrific event 
> to get the country focused on shoring up cyber security. 'If the power 
> grid was taken off line in the middle of winter and it caused people to 
> suffer and die, that would galvanize the nation. I hope we don't get 
> there.'"
> What's important here from a p2p perspective is the phrase: "The private 
> sector has different priorities than we do in providing security."
> That's one reason I think P2P-related ideas can ultimately gain 
> acceptance as the security high ground, by being more intrinsically 
> secure and more mutually secure, using distributed systems not designed 
> to maximize the profit potential for a few with concentrated ownership. 
> So, if almost everyone can produce their own local renewable energy with 
> rooftop solar panels, the community is intrinsically more secure.
> --Paul Fernhout
> http://www.pdfernhout.net/
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