Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cybersecurity, Energy and National Defense

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Hacks on Gas (and the Grid): Cybersecurity, Energy and National Defense | Forbes

Whenever a doomsday scenario involving the nation’s computer networks is invoked, invariably one aspect of it involves a massive disruption of the electrical grid. Computers go haywire, expensive and scarce hardware is destroyed, and a large segment of the populace can be left to cope without electricity for extended periods.  Of course natural disasters demonstrate that outages can occur regularly in the United States, particularly in the wake of weather-related events, but there are valid concerns about how computer control of energy generation and distribution might bear the brunt of a significant cyber attack.

There is no shortage of concern in the U.S. Department of Defense regarding cyber attacks, including targets in the energy sector. This concern was the impetus for anew paper entitled “Hacks on Gas: Energy, Cybersecurity and U.S. Defense,” commissioned by the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute for its New Realities: Energy Security in the 2010s and Implications for the U.S. Military conference.


According to the Defense Science Board, “About 85% of the energy infrastructure upon which DoD depends is commercially owned, and 99% of the electrical energy DoD installations consume originates outside the fence.” U.S. forces also rely on foreign utilities for power on overseas bases. Backup electrical power for the DoD isn’t very different than corporate or municipal actors, i.e. via an onsite generator.

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Click the PDF below to read "Hacks on Gas: Energy, Cybersecurity and U.S. Defense."