Thwarting Risks in the Energy Industry
In Lights Out, reporter and author Ted Koppel makes the case that the United States is unprepared for an attack on the electric power grid and that we have entered the era in which a laptop can be a weapon of mass destruction. Although the book covers a variety of potential threats to the grid, the primary focus is on cyberattacks. The pervasive nature of Internet connections has multiplied the vulnerability points almost beyond enumeration. The fragmented structure of the industry makes it difficult both to regulate and to protect.
The vulnerability of the grid was made evident during the blackout of 2003 when software failed to sound an alarm about power lines that had been compromised by hot weather and a high load. The resulting blackout began in Ohio and rippled through eight states and portions of Canada. Power was out for several days, disrupting communications, rail travel, air travel, business and other vital activities. Terrorism was initially suspected, but did not have a role.
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