Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Spies Hack U.S. Electrical Grid...Where's That Stimulus Money?

News about our electrical grid today is a bit on the disturbing side. According to the Wall Street Journal, cyber-spies have hacked into our national grid and mapped it out. They also left software programs behind that could disrupt our power supply in time of war or just to create chaos (possibly starting a war in such a way). Basically, this isn't good.

From The WSJ:

The espionage appeared pervasive across the U.S. and doesn't target a particular company or region, said a former Department of Homeland Security official. "There are intrusions, and they are growing," the former official said, referring to electrical systems. "There were a lot last year."

Many of the intrusions were detected not by the companies in charge of the infrastructure but by U.S. intelligence agencies, officials said. Intelligence officials worry about cyber attackers taking control of electrical facilities, a nuclear power plant or financial networks via the Internet.
So what do we do about this potential crisis? Well, instead of just spending a few billion here and there as band aids for the system, we need to completely revamp how the U.S. does energy. Barack Obama talked about a new grid that relies on alternative sources and is soundly and safely connected. It isn't solely about cyber hackers either, the system we have now is old, outdated and full of holes. Being on the east coast for the blackout six years ago, the evidence showing just how bad the way we're wired is glaring to say the least. And as a bonus, building clean energy plants and constructing a grid that fully utilizes the power will create an incredible amount of jobs and reduce our dependence on dirty coal.