As smart grid metering systems expand across the developed
world, many are starting to ask whether the threats posed by the new devices,
which officials promise will save energy and reduce end user utility costs,
outweigh their benefits. In addition to documented health
concerns resulting from radiation emissions and no cost savings being apparent, opponents of
the technology argue that smart meters are violative
of basic privacy rights and give the government yet another digital node of
unfettered access to monitor and control personal electricity consumption.
Now, an alarming new documentary suggests that
security problems with the inter-connected and seemingly convenient smart
grid may be so serious that they could lead to a catastrophic failure of our
nation’s entire power infrastructure.
In an interview for the upcoming documentary titled Take
Back Your Power, Cyber defense expert David Chalk warns that our nation
is in crisis. Not only are our smart power grids susceptible to hacking, but
they may very well already be infected with Trojan viruses and back doors
that will ultimately lead to disastrous consequences:
(Video interview follows excerpts)
The front door is open, and there is no lock to be
There is not a power meter or device on the grid
that is protected from
hacking, if not already infected with some sort of Trojan horse than can
cause it to be shut down, damaged or completely annihilated.
We can’t take a massive outage all at once.
When we say ‘it goes down,’ we’re
talking about generators burning out. We’re talking about coal plants
being damaged. We’re talking about destruction of equipment. This
isn’t just a matter of electrons going around and shutting off the
Physical equipment can be damaged… watch some of the videos of cyber
attacks on generators and other devices. You’ll see
they’re actually damaged. Multi million
dollar machines are hacked into.
We look at corporations. We look at the very
companies like Symantec that are there to protect us having been hacked, and
their code is in the public domain.
Bring forward a technology and I will show you that
I’ll do it on national TV, I’ll do it anywhere… I can
guarantee you 100% that there is nothing out there today – nothing
– that can’t be penetrated.
We need safety and security, and today that does not
exist in the smart grid.
“Unless we wake up and realize what
we’re doing, there is 100% certainty of total catastrophic failure of
the entire power infrastructure within 3 years,” said Chalk.
“This could actually be worse than a nuclear
war, because it would happen everywhere. How governments and utilities are
blindly merging the power grid with the Internet, and effectively without any
protection, is insanity at its finest.”
Preview Take Back Your Power:
As Mr. Chalk points out, even the top security firms
in the country have been hacked, and the head of US Cyber Security confirms
that military systems are under constant attack and have been broken by
hackers who have gained access to sensitive military and space agency systems
active Jet Propulsion Labs spacecraft). Our entire drone fleet, yet another node in the ever
expanding control grid, was recently
compromised by a
virus that was able to log access commands and passwords for high security
military systems. The vulnerabilities of these systems became starkly clear
when Iran’s military broke global positioning encryption and took
control of a U.S.
military drone over
This is no longer about a single
computer going down or file directories being accessed. Cyber conflict is moving into an entirely
new realm, where rogue hackers or state-sponsored cyber operations are capable of
targeting physical grid infrastructure like power,
water, and oil refineries, commerce and transportation systems. According to one expert, such an attack has the
potential bring down life as we know it in America in a matter of just 900
Some would argue that we need more governance over
the grid system, or stricter penalties for those who compromise it, or
further yet, more monitoring and tracking so attacks can be prevented.
The other option, however, is that we take
individual Americans off the traditional grid altogether by empowering them
through tax credits and de-regulation, so that every one of us can have their
own personal smart grid in their home, independent of intervention from
government or traditional energy industry players.
Only this limited government, personal
responsibility solution is capable of providing a truly impenetrable level of
power grid safety and security for each and every person in the United
However, like all things government, the narrative
seems to be to first create the problem, then move
to fix it by more centralization, control and dependence. It’s a trend
we see not just in our energy sector, but every aspect of our lives.