SCADA: The Power Grid Saga

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SCADA: The Power Grid Saga

In an excellent report published today in the USA Today, Steve Reilly wel-researched work gives examples of just how big the risk from unsecured SCADA devices is.

Attacks

As I wrote in 2009, in my article ‘The Biggest Hole of It All‘, our infrastructure, that is to say the foundations on which our way of life depends, are highly insecure.

For example, Mr. Reilly describes that in the Power Grid area alone, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), reported more than 151 ‘cyber incidents’, representing a 36% increase over the previous years’ and an astonishing 487% increase over 2012.

The article mentions a 2011 attack on a small electricity co-op in Texas.  What is really telling are the words (emphasis mine)

…CEO R.B. Sloan shared his surprise with the utility’s board of directors.”

Why surprise, you ask?

It seems that the CEO thought the hackers would aim for ‘something else’ to ‘make a bigger impact’.  Is that not another occurrence of the Ostrich Syndrome?

Self Regulation

Continue reading

Thoughts about NATO and RUSSIA

Today’s blog is about what must be the single most disconcerting events of the last year.  In continuation of the Putin vs. Stoltenberg, it was announced today that

NATO bolsters Eastern Europe against Russia

Before we begin, and for the record: I do not particularly like Putin.  Happening to know more about his past than the average person would, I think there are plenty of reasons to dislike his actions.

That said, the announcement that

Nato is to bolster the alliance’s military presence in Eastern Europe…Six bases are being set up and a 5,000-strong “spearhead” force established.  (BBC News)

Is very dangerous.

While the free (western) world see Russia as a criminal state, taking over the Crimea and arming rebels/sending fighter to the Ukraine, I think some clarification is in order.

Russia has three issues with the West:

Simply put, Russia was stunned (and is upset) that when the Warsaw Pact collapsed, NATO did not disband as well.  After all, NATO was established to defend the west from the threat of Russian aggression.

Second, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, several countries that were a member of the Warsaw Pact have joined NATO.  Russia sees that as a dangerous encroachment on its traditional belief that the countries around Russia are seen as the ‘near abroad’.  This view effects its prior views on the Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, etc.  In fact, the ‘Rus’ in Russia is from the name of the tribes which once resided in and around Kiev, today in the Ukraine.

Finally, and still very fresh in the mind of Russian, is the Great Patriotic War (aka World War II).  Russia lost millions of its sons and daughters to that war, and was one of the Allies.  While Ukraine, and its people, mostly gladly joined the Germans, and even volunteered to serve in the infamous SS.  So, how come the West is siding with the enemy?

Most would agree that a force of 5,000 people, as in the NATO declaration of today, would not be a really meaningful deterrence to Russia.  While reassuring countries like Latvia and Lithuania, I suspect that this move will generate great consternation and immediate counter-action by Russia.

What we should be doing is lowering the flames, not raising them.  In fact, if we do it smartly, it will pull some wind out of Putin’s sails internally.

Just my 2 cents.   Your thoughts?