More Blackout Danger

This blog has discussed, on many occasions, the danger of losing the electrical power grid through major solar storm or electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. I believe the cumulative threat is higher than airline highjacking for which we spend tens of billions on the TSA. 

Here is a story from today's Wall Street Journal on that topic: 

The director of the National Security Agency has warned that the hacking group Anonymous could have the ability within the next year or two to bring about a limited power outage through a cyberattack.

Gen. Keith Alexander, the director, provided his assessment in meetings at the White House and in other private sessions, according to people familiar with the gatherings. While he hasn't publicly expressed his concerns about the potential for Anonymous to disrupt power supplies, he has warned publicly about an emerging ability by cyberattackers to disable or even damage computer networks.

Gen. Alexander's warning signals a growing federal concern over the capabilities of Anonymous, a loose affiliation of so-called hacktivist computer programmers who have launched a raft of high-profile cyberassaults against U.S. government and corporate targets such as Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc. and eBayInc.'s PayPal serviceSo far, the attacks have primarily served to embarrass companies and organizations, and cybersecurity experts differ on the extent of the threat posed by Anonymous.The group has never listed a power blackout as a goal, but some federal officials believe Anonymous is headed in a more disruptive direction. An attack on a network would be consistent with recent public claims and threats by the group. Last week, for instance, Anonymous announced a plan to shut down the Internet on March 31, which it calls Operation Global Blackout

Think about it: We would, literally, be back to 1880 but without the 1880's infrastructure. Your car would not run after an EMP attack. Do you own a horse? Is there a grain mill run on water flow nearby? How would insulin and other critical medicines be kept cool without electricity? 

It is long-past time stop pouring money into the TSA (including a new TSA tax) and start focusing on these more serious threats. 


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