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Thread: Russian Hack of VT Power Grid

  1. #1
    Helper Gregg's Avatar
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    Russian Hack of VT Power Grid

    According to the Washington Post lines of code attributed to Russian hackers was found at an electric utility in Vermont. I don't think anyone should be surprised by that as its long been speculated that both Russia and China have made significant inroads into our power grid. And us into both of theirs. It is basically assumed by most people I know that the same mutually assured destruction that kept nukes in the silos is keeping the grids up and running on all sides.

    That said, its still prudent to have a plan of how to live if the power goes out for an hour, a day, a week and/or longer. A blizzard or hurricane can do as much damage as a hack. We did an exercise when our kids were all at home that involved flipping off the main breaker (no cheating that way) and having each person carry out their assigned tasks. Things like filling the wood box, getting out all the candles and flashlights, filling large pots with water to warm by the woodstove, etc. We are now empty-nesters living in a much smaller house, but its still important to be prepared and to have a plan. Most importantly, we made a list of all the things to do and put it in a kitchen drawer so its easy to grab. The list assumes we will lose power on the coldest, windiest day of the year. If the weather is less severe its easy enough to pare down all the emergency heating options.

    Really just posting this after reading the Post article to make sure everyone here has given some thought to their power down plan. Here's hoping you won't need it in 2017. Happy New Year all!
    "Back when I was a young boy all my aunts and uncles would poke me in the ribs at weddings saying your next! Your next! They stopped doing all that crap when I started doing it to them... at funerals!"

  2. #2
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    The news accounts of this incident seem to my eye to be overblown and bent on causing anxiety and panic.

    "The Russians are coming". "We have a list of Soviet agents..." etc.

    Seems this specific event, when you dig into the details, was a worker at that utility with some malware on his laptop, which got polluted by him clicking on a phishing email link.

    It doesn't appear the utility's control systems were compromised.

    The official FBI report that was distributed to utilities is a bit drier reading, and seems to be little more than the usual "we've found another malware signature, here it is, please scan for it", with a little seasoning of "oh, could be Evil Russian Agents".

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    I had no power for about 6 hours on a cold evening and night a few weeks ago. No heat since my ancient gas furnace has an electric starter. I need to buy some more candles and batteries now. I had to use my gas stove to keep the apartment warm and piled like 15 blankets on. I had just got out of the shower and had dripping wet hair too. People laugh at me for having about 20 blankets in my apartment but you need those in this situation. Going to a hotel wouldn't do any good because no one in several counties had power.

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    It is another good reminder of the randomness of these outages sometimes. Seems to me the attention on prepper-type actions in the U.S. has waned, and I'm wondering what it would take to have that be a focus again.

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    From the "Other than that, the story was accurate" section of the WSJ "Best of the Web" blog.


    • “Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Russian hackers had penetrated the U.S. electric grid. Authorities say there is no indication of that so far. The computer at Burlington Electric that was hacked was not attached to the grid.”—Washington Post, Dec. 31

  6. #6
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    The fun thing about today's news/social media climate is that facts no longer matter. You can repeat a story a couple of times, ideally with a clickbait headline, and pretty soon everyone is convinced that Something Happened, and they are *sure* they saw the proof of it. When questioned for sources, it gets pretty funny pretty quickly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bae View Post
    The fun thing about today's news/social media climate is that facts no longer matter. You can repeat a story a couple of times, ideally with a clickbait headline, and pretty soon everyone is convinced that Something Happened, and they are *sure* they saw the proof of it. When questioned for sources, it gets pretty funny pretty quickly.
    I agree with this opinion that gullible news is a bigger problem than fake news.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articl...blem-fake-news

  8. #8
    Helper Gregg's Avatar
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    No argument from me regarding the clickbait, fake news, gullible news environment. The accuracy of the article in the OP was less important to me than the realization that I'd let some of my preparedness measures for events slightly less significant than Armageddon slip. We shouldn't need fear of Russians to make sure the batteries are charged. Besides, if we're prepared there is less to fear than if we're not, no matter what the internet has to say. In the end, I'm just trying to make my power-out-box great again.
    "Back when I was a young boy all my aunts and uncles would poke me in the ribs at weddings saying your next! Your next! They stopped doing all that crap when I started doing it to them... at funerals!"

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