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« Mann caught out again | Main | Closed minds at the British Library »
Friday
Jan092015

Greenery is national security threat

Windfarms and all the other bonkers attempts to green the electricity grid are not only an expensive and pointless gesture that encourages graft and sets neighbour against neighbour. It turns out that they represent a threat to national security too:

Security experts said last year that measures to make the electricity grid greener are boosting its vulnerability to computer hacking since new wind farms, solar panels and smart meters mean there are additional portals to be breached.

“The energy grid today is vulnerable from all degrees,” Slava Borilin, critical infrastructure business manager at Kaspersky, said in an e-mail. “Its electricity production is under threat of interruption and down-time from breaches of industrial control systems.”

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Reader Comments (27)

Blindingly obvious, I would have thought - wind turbines and solar (ha!) farms stuck out in the middle of what-used-to-be-called 'the countryside' - are surely far more vulnerable to attack than a self-contained power station...

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Milord Bishop, I suspect someone is either trying to hack into this site, or has already succeeded, as I keep being directed to completely different sites (about doctors and “health”), especially whenever I try to look at the Discussion.

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:15 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

David Cameron will only take part in a tv debate if the Greens (one loopy MP) are included.

No mention of the SNP.

Discuss...

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

I would have thought a Jewish Supermarket full of shoppers was more a potential terrorist target.

Tragic events of the past few days just prove that our political masters both sides of the Channel don,t have a f--king clue about national security.

Roy Schneider needed a bigger boat and we need more soldiers and policemen and less windmills.

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Radical, take care you're not inadvertently clicking the advert which is directly underneath the menu bar

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Surely Greenery is a national security threat simply by the damage it will do to the economy and to the lives of the citizens due to rocketing electricity and related prices.

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

TBYJ: thank you for that – however as that link is about biomass heating, you can rest assured I am not. The problem did seem to have been corrected – I left this site, and returned. However, it recurs when I go to the Discussion site, and try to look at EM’s “Debating motion…” Once it (or they) have shown, they then repeatedly occur, wherever I am on this site – and seem to be successfully posting this reply! One more time…

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:40 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Well, a partial success. I cannot correct my typo, though.

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:42 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

The problem seems to have been resolved – I cleared my history, even though the interruption only occurred on this site.

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:49 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Surely the wind farm operators do not connect their wind machines control systems direct to the public internet. Conventional manufacturing process control standards would prohibit that. I know that they can consider ignoring that design requirement either out of naivety or deliberate action, but any "portal" should be unreachable from the internet.

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterrms

A lot of renewable energy infrastructure (wind turbines, AD plants etc ) are remotely monitored and controlled from overseas. They don't even need to be hacked into.

Jan 9, 2015 at 1:58 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

@ (No Shit) sherlock1 [Sorry, I just couldn't resist it] at 1:18 PM

"David Cameron will only take part in a tv debate if the Greens (one loopy MP) are included.

No mention of the SNP.

Discuss..."

It's his cowardly way of attempting to minimise confronting his real challenge - Farage, whilst at the same time giving the perception of 'being reasonable'.

The electorate aren't that gullible.

Jan 9, 2015 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

OMG! Just imagine if they could hack into our solar panels and make every single one of them switch off.

You know, like night time.

Jan 9, 2015 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean OConnor

Hi,

Once again the doommongers are in full flow, mainly those who have a profit motive for causing alarm

As other commenters have stated, only the stupid and naive would connect sensitive equipment to the public network!

All big companies and utilities have PRIVATE networks.

Just down the road from me is AWE, an excellent example of high security.

NO public network is allowed into Aldermastion.

There is ONE public gateway, where all public internet, (email for example) terminates.

Across the room from the gateway machine is the internal AWE network gateway machine.

Any emails and data files for AWE internal depts are physically sneaker netted, (walked) across the room and fed into the internal system

you know it makes sense!

cheers

GG

Jan 9, 2015 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy Grandad

"OMG! Just imagine if they could hack into our solar panels and make every single one of them switch off." Sean OConnor

One of the problems with solar panels is they can't be shut off at all. At times of peak sunshine, you can get more energy that you can deal with. Wind can be turned off when there is too much electricity. Potentially hackers could cause more damage by turning windmills on than turning them off because it could cause damage followed by a blackout.

Jan 9, 2015 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I thought a big prickly hedge was the Green Party's Defence Policy.

Jan 9, 2015 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Grumpy Grandad, what you say is what SHOULD happen - in most cases it DOES NOT, otherwise how does the SCADA virus get into the systems.

In most cases it is because some accountant or statistician wants to sit at his desk and play with the available data at the remote site. The moment that happens everything is open to hacking and manipulation.

Jan 9, 2015 at 5:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

In other news: "Spokesman for company selling products protecting against hacking encourages fear of hacking among potential customers"

Jan 9, 2015 at 7:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Audley

A major security threat lies in off shore WFs whose blades confuse low level radar tracking of incoming aircraft.

A pea-brained genius has 'solved' this problem by giving turbines 'stealth' blades (I kid you not). It clearly hadn't occurred to him/her (mustn't be sexist here) that by rendering them invisible to radar means shipping may not see them in a fog.... I await a 'major incident' at sea.

Jan 9, 2015 at 7:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Foster

Quelle surprise! We are vulnerable not because we are 'bullied' by Big Oil or British American Tobacco but, rather, because there are many who are so desperate for 'meaning' they would reverse us towards nothing, x, nihil. The irony of the terms 'progressive' and 'regressive'! History has it's sense of humour and that you and Ben Pile are becoming almost indistinguishable on this is one of its best jokes. A seriousness of a determination not to be lied to.

Jan 10, 2015 at 2:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterLewis Deane

Je suis Charlie!

Jan 10, 2015 at 2:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterLewis Deane

minus 1 There is no story except as @Martin Audley says a biz doing PR to sell it's product (computer security)

- Anyway the stability of the electricity network already lies hacked and bleeding thru the policies of Ed the Hacker Davey supported by Harrabin & Shukmann who hack at the BBC to ensure his mad policies don't get proper scrutiny.

Jan 10, 2015 at 9:29 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Surely Sony Entertainment also had a 'private' network..?

Also, according to My QI '1411 Facts to knock you sideways' book - courtesy of son/Christmas present, there are approximately 10000 attempts daily to hack into the Pentagon's computers - of which 250 are successful...

Jan 10, 2015 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

What is *supposed* to happen (and I guess it would be interesting to know if this is how the wind farm operators run their process control systems ... my hunch is they do) ... See Purdue Enterprise Reference Architecture" for a brief summary of the "standard" (amongst a few others) information systems architecture for manufacturing. Manufacturing organisations and computing networks are designed along these lines. People working in manufacturing often will have entire careers at one or two levels in this model.

The wind machines and any manual/autonomous controls systems, e.g. PLC's (programmable logic controller), switches, valves, etc.) are at Level 0, 1, and 2. Process control (in a nuclear power control room, or NASA's control centre--what you might see in the movies) would be Level 3. Business Systems are at Level 4. For both organisational and computer networking, there are normally strict controls between levels, e.g. using firewalls (or equivalent) and and "air-gaps" for computer networking. Email and connections to the Internet would be at Level 4 or above typically. No email or internet would be normally be permitted a Level 0,1, 2, and 3. Hacker attempts (which would be happening all the time, I would guess) would be at the internet connections at Level 4.

If wind farm operators (and all manufacturing companies) aren't doing this sort of thing, then they should be. I don't know the regulations for wind farms, but my hunch is that they would be required to follow this model, and if not then there is a worthwhile job for regulators to repair. And auditors to audit.

Jan 10, 2015 at 6:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterrms

Although hacking is very attractive to saboteurs, as a low-risk, high/wide-impact model of disruption, you cannot really beat 'boots on the ground'. Sleeping agents at critical points of generation, distribution or even maintenance can cause enormous and difficult-to-predict harm. Even in the wider world, say in the economy, it is possible to cause havoc simply by injecting spurious or destructive signals into systems. Mr Soros' interventions in the ERM fiasco is, I believe, a textbook example; the global oil price 'surprises' we are currently seeing may turn out to be another.

Jan 10, 2015 at 11:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuart B

What Martin Audley said.

Jan 12, 2015 at 9:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Duffin

What Martin Audley said.

Jan 12, 2015 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Duffin

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