Iran is hacking the power grid: The ultimate terrorist attack

Natural disasters. Nuclear attacks. Long-term grid collapse. Water shortages. An economic crash.

Those are the normal topics of conversation when preppers think about end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it events. But it’s entirely possible the event that we never really thought about has been quietly gearing up, right under our noses. Maybe the real SHTF event is the ultimate terror attack – a cyber attack on the grid.

The threat is real, but it’s not what you think

When thinking of a massive terrorist attack, people immediately think of events like 9/11, the shooting in San Bernadino, or the mass casualty in Paris. But as horrifying as all of those events were (again, regardless of who you believe was pulling the strings) this isn’t the type of attack you should really be worried about.

It isn’t about the influx of immigrants and refugees that everyone is arguing about. That’s really just a distraction from the real issue. It isn’t about a difference in religion or small individual attacks like the one that took place in California. It doesn’t matter if the terrorists are who you think they are, or who is being blamed, framed, or set up.

All that really matters is that the real threat would mean the end of the flippin’ world as we know it, whoever happens to be pulling the strings. Terrorists wouldn’t even have to be on American soil to pull the rug out from under our civilization in the ultimate terror attack.

Iran is hacking the power grid

Earlier this week, the AP released a chilling investigative report about the vulnerability of our power grid to foreign hacks. In fact, according to this report, the grid isn’t just vulnerable – it’s already been under attack.

Brian Wallace, a security researcher investigating the hack of California’s university housing files when he discovered something far worse than a breach of private information. The AP reports:

Cyberattackers had opened a pathway into the networks running the United States power grid.

Digital clues pointed to Iranian hackers. And Wallace found that they had already taken passwords, as well as engineering drawings of dozens of power plants, at least one with the title “Mission Critical.” The drawings were so detailed that experts say skilled attackers could have used them, along with other tools and malicious code, to knock out electricity flowing to millions of homes.

As terrifying as this is, it wasn’t an individual incident. The Associated Press researchers discovered that this has occurred a dozen times over the past 10 years, and this information has been hidden from the public. By now, so many intruders have quietly stowed away in the system that our grid could be taken down at well.

More from the AP’s report:

“If the geopolitical situation changes and Iran wants to target these facilities, if they have this kind of information it will make it a lot easier,” said Robert M. Lee, a former U.S. Air Force cyberwarfare operations officer. “It will also help them stay quiet and stealthy inside.”

In 2012 and 2013, in well-publicized attacks, Russian hackers successfully sent and received encrypted commands to U.S. public utilities and power generators; some private firms concluded this was an effort to position interlopers to act in the event of a political crisis…

…The hackers have gained access to an aging, outdated power system. Many of the substations and equipment that move power across the U.S. are decrepit and were never built with network security in mind; hooking the plants up to the Internet over the last decade has given hackers new backdoors in. Distant wind farms, home solar panels, smart meters and other networked devices must be remotely monitored and controlled, which opens up the broader system to fresh points of attack.

We’ve been warned for years

For several years now, people in the now have been beating a drum to which no one is listening. Security experts have been  warning us that our vulnerable power grid is an extremely likely target.

In 2014, Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner wrote:

Former top government officials who have been warning Washington about the vulnerability of the nation’s largely unprotected electric grid are raising new fears that troops from the jihadist Islamic State are poised to attack the system, leading to a power crisis that could kill millions.

“Inadequate grid security, a porous U.S.-Mexico border, and fragile transmission systems make the electric grid a target for ISIS,” said Peter Pry, one of the nation’s leading experts on the grid.

Others joining Pry at a press conference later Wednesday to draw attention to the potential threat said that if just a handful of the nation’s high voltage transformers were knocked out, blackouts would occur across the country.

“By one estimate, should the power go out and stay out for over a year, nine out of 10 Americans would likely perish,” said Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington.

At the afternoon press conference, Gaffney dubbed the potential crisis the “grid jihad.” (source)

Anyone involved in the preparedness community is well aware of the disaster that would befall our country should our power-dependent populace no longer have light, climate control, and running water with the flip of a switch or turn of a handle. In his book, One Second After, William Forstchen wrote a fictional account of an EMP attack on our country and that book is the very thing that brought many of us over to the “prepped” side. His newest book, Day of Wrath, could be likewise prescient. It was written about a devastating ISIS terror attack on American soil.

During the above-mentioned press conference, Peter Pry warned that Obama’s open border policy could be the weak point that allows the country to be infiltrated, with potentially devastating consequences.

Pry provided details of recent attacks on electricity systems and said that ISIS could easily team with Mexican drug cartels to ravage America.

He told Secrets, for example, that the Knights Templar drug gang blacked out the electric grid of the Mexican state of Michoacan in 2013 to provide cover for killing those fighting the drug trade.

“The Knights Templars and other criminal gangs in Mexico will do anything for money, and ISIS, the richest terrorist organization in history, has hundreds of millions of dollars at its disposal,” said Pry.

“ISIS could hire one of the Mexican cartels, or one of their criminal gangs already in the U.S., or activate jihadist terror cells already in the U.S., and inflict a multi-state blackout immediately, within days or weeks. Perhaps even a nationwide blackout,” Pry explained to Secrets.

“I am not saying it is likely they will do so. But given the capabilities and objectives of ISIS and our obvious vulnerabilities, it would be foolish to ignore the threat to the grid, to regard the threat as unlikely. Our planning should be based on imminent asymmetrical threats, and not assume that another 9/11 large-scale attack is years away,” he added.

The Texas Department of Public Safety recently said they believe there is evidence that ISIS plans an attack. (source)

If only 9 of our 55,000 substations went down, our country could be facing up to 18 months without electricity. Many theorize that a grid failure on that level would mean the death of 90% of Americans within the first year. This is serious stuff, and one of the only ways an enemy with far weaker military might could attack us and win.