Emergency Planning

Emergency Planning
September 10, 2013
Critical Infrastructure Protection: Are we prepared for a massive cyberattack on U.S. systems?
In terms of Critical Infrastructure, where does our nation need to place the most focus?   Some argue it is our financial institutions.   What about our transportation services, or food and water?   What would happen if the oil and gas services went down?   An attack on any one of these could be disastrous.   Taylor Armerding suggests a cyber-attack on the nation’s power grid is the greatest threat we face, and he is not alone.  
According to Joe Weiss, an industrial control systems expert, an attack on the nation’s power grid would also affect all of the aforementioned services.   If there is no power, banks don’t operate, food goes bad, and transportation systems shut down.   A cyber-attack could damage or destroy custom equipment (transformers, boilers, turbines) that has components not easily replaced.   The power grid equipment supports nearly all of the critical services; water, oil and gas systems, telecommunications, transportation, and banks.   A specific attack could cause outages that last anywhere from 9 to 18 months, or even more.   Much of the equipment we utilize is not made in the US, so replacing it takes significant time and money.   Economist Scott Borg, who works for the federal government, said that if a third of the country lost power for three months, it would cost the country and our people approximately $700 billion dollars.
One question posed by Armerding is why we haven’t seen a larger scale cyber-attack already.   Russia pre-emptively attacked Georgia’s infrastructure prior to kinetic operations in 2008.   Francis Cianfrocca says, “A key aspect of that was massive destabilization of Georgia’s financial structure.   It included financial, telecom, and critical infrastructure...