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How To Defend Against Electrical Grid Attacks

By Duane Thresher, Ph.D.          December 7, 2022

In memory of the 2,403 Americans who were killed in the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

If you are an investor who would really like to help America by doing something about its decaying and insecure infrastructure, so probably not an ESG investor, and an investor who understands that All Cryptocurrencies Might As Well Be Tulip Bulbs, then the best answer to How To Defend Against Electrical Grid Attacks is to see Wanted: Visionary Investors for Historic Business Plan, contact me, and then read
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Even if you are not such an investor, this article will still be of huge benefit to you and America.

Recently there have been numerous attacks on electrical grids, in Ukraine, in Western Europe, and in the United States, particularly North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington. These have turned off the electricity for hundreds of thousands of people.

Being an MIT electrical engineer, which covers both IT and electricity, I've written extensively about electrical grid attacks, starting with the still popular Handing Over America's Electrical Grid to the Russians in April 2018 and then most recently about forced meltdowns of nuclear power plants, particularly by the Russians, in a series of articles in May (31st), June (6th), September (11th (Nuclear 9/11) and 21st), and November (8th) of 2021 and January (28th) of 2022. These articles are about hacking into power plants and one way or another turning off the electricity for millions of people (and in the case of forced meltdowns of nuclear power plants, killing millions of people by radiation).

The defense against these cyberattacks is, as described in the articles, to get IT experts like Apscitu Inc., not the current IT incompetents, to do the cybersecurity for these power plants.

Most power plants, particularly nuclear power plants, have some kind of defense against physical attacks, like a fence of some sort (although I question that of Vogtle nuclear power plant near Augusta Georgia).

(Note that hacking can also be done physically, just like Edward Snowden hacked the NSA and CIA. In fact, some hacking conventions, all of questionable legitimacy, have lock-picking contests.)

But power plants are not the only parts of the electrical grid that can be attacked to turn off the electricity.

From the introduction of Apscitu's historic business plan
An electric power system consists of a power plant to generate the electricity (whether, in the U.S., from natural gas (40%), nuclear (20%), coal (19%), wind (8%), hydro (7%), or solar (2%)), a transformer station to increase the electricity’s voltage to decrease resistive power losses in going through the transmission lines, high-voltage transmission lines strung between transmission towers to carry the electricity many miles to population centers, transformer substations to decrease the electricity’s voltage so that it can be used there, and distribution lines to carry this lower-voltage electricity to individual consumers.
While perhaps less so, transformer stations and substations are defended against physical attacks similarly to power plants. (Some transformer stations may also be vulnerable to cyberattack and, tragically, are defended similarly to power plants.)

That leaves transmission lines, which are not similarly defended (see ahead), to physically attack to turn off the electricity.

(Note that forced meltdowns of nuclear power plants are also possible by destroying transmission lines to them. When nuclear power plants are shut down, such as some on the East Coast are during hurricanes, they are not producing electricity but still need a lot of electricity to pump coolant so their nuclear fuel doesn't melt down. Some nuclear power plants get this electricity from the rest of the electrical grid via transmission lines to them.)

Physically attacking transmission lines means: 1) flying bombs of some sort (even if just fully-fueled planes like in 9/11, when 2,977 Americans were killed by a sneak attack) into them, particularly the transmission towers, or 2) setting bombs at the transmission towers.

Flying bombs into transmission lines is what is mostly done during a war. The Russians are doing that with great success in the war in Ukraine, turning off much of Ukraine's electricity. One reason the Russians are targeting transmission lines is because they don't want to attack the power plants directly, since many of them are nuclear and the Russians still remember the fallout from Chernobyl (which is in Ukraine, but very near the Russian border). Further, these power plants may be defended against flying bombs by anti-aircraft and anti-missile defenses, which are not feasible to put all along thousands of miles of transmission lines.

The Russians have a lot of experience defeating their enemies by cutting off their energy supplies. During World War II the Russians defeated the invading German army by preventing them from reaching Russian oil fields, which the Germans desperately needed, just as they need Russian natural gas now. Fear of invasion, now by NATO, which is primarily the U.S., is why the Russians are fighting in Ukraine. Ukraine's irresponsible talk of joining NATO was what led to the war in Ukraine (the same may happen to Finland). Would the U.S. let Mexico or Canada become part of Russia, particularly after we didn't let Cuba?

How to defend against flying bombs into transmission lines (or even setting bombs at transmission towers; see ahead) and turning off the electricity?

By design, an electrical grid is just that, a grid with multiple transmission lines from each power plant and to each city so if one transmission line goes down, like via an attack, another can carry its load. But this assumes that each transmission line has a lot of spare capacity, so that it can not only carry its original load but also that of a downed transmission line. This is not currently the case in the U.S. (or probably anywhere, including Ukraine), if it ever was, since most transmission lines are running at or near capacity. This problem was the reason for the Great Northeast Blackouts of 1965 and 2003 (I was living and working in New York City during the latter and it was scary) and for numerous smaller blackouts before, in-between, and since.

Apscitu's historic business plan will solve this problem.

For countries not physically at war (even if supplying war materiel to Ukraine makes them de facto at war with Russia), like the U.S., setting bombs at transmission towers is the primary concern, whether by foreign terrorists, who easily come through U.S. borders with bombs, or domestic terrorists. This bomb setting is currently easy. Most of the thousands of miles of transmission line towers are not, and can not feasibly be, fenced off and are accessible by roads, which are necessary for at least the original installation, even if not used much after, given the lack of maintenance on transmission lines and towers. (Note that burying thousands of miles of transmission lines is also not feasible and that bombs can almost as easily destroy these as well.)

Worse, currently much of the thousands of miles of transmission line towers (their bases at least) are hidden from public view, since no one wants these transmission lines near them, and there are also few, if any, surveillance cameras along these thousands of miles of transmission lines (which could even cover transformer stations and substations at the end of the lines). There is thus little fear by bomb setters of getting caught, which is the only way to defend against these attacks.

Apscitu's historic business plan will also solve this problem.

As has been amply demonstrated, the U.S. Government can not protect you from electrical grid attacks, particularly the agency that has been specifically tasked with doing so, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA); see CISA: No Infrastructure Cybersecurity, Just a Stepping Stone for IT Incompetents.

Investors, invest in America's infrastructure and its real national security, invest in Apscitu's historic business plan. All other investments are worthless without a secure and upgraded electrical grid; even cryptocurrencies require a lot of electricity.

Don't let the sun set on America's electrical grid.