New York Times: Attack Ravages Power Grid. (Just a Test.)

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New York Times: Attack Ravages Power Grid. (Just a Test.)

By Matthew L. Wald

Attack Ravages Power Grid. (Just a Test.)

Published: November 14, 2013

WASHINGTON — In windowless rooms from here to California, nearly 10,000 electrical engineers, cybersecurity specialists, utility executives and F.B.I. agents furiously grappled over 48 hours with an unseen “enemy” who tried to turn out the lights across America. The enemy injected computer viruses into grid control systems, bombed transformers and substations and knocked out power lines by the dozen.

By late Thursday morning, in this unprecedented continental-scale war game to determine how prepared the nation is for a cyberattack, tens of millions of Americans were in simulated darkness. Hundreds of transmission lines and transformers were declared damaged or destroyed, and the engineers were rushing to assess computers that were, for the purposes of the drill, tearing their system apart.

“It’s going really well,” said Gerry W. Cauley, the president and chief executive of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which ran the drill. “A bit scary, but really well.”

There were seven “deaths” of police officers, firefighters and utility workers who showed up to investigate reports of problems at substations or power lines and were shot by attackers still on the scene. In all, there were 150 “casualties,” Mr. Cauley said……

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