Monday, February 6, 2012

Just when you thought it was safe to Calculate: More "Incalculable" Smart Grid Security Doom for your Consumption

It might be a form of Tourettes, sorry. But every once in a while I feel compelled to shine a harsh light on articles that go too far or way too far in in the FUD department. Especially those from reputable publications.

What was Said

Here are a few selected citations from the first part of the less-than-soberly titled article in question:
  • "Internet-based terrorists would be capable of causing blackouts on the order of nine to 18 months."
  • “The dollars are incalculable.” 
  • “There’s some percentage of utilities out there that just don’t take this seriously.” 
  • "Energy companies including utilities would have to increase their investment in computer security more than seven-fold to reach an ideal level of protection."  
SGSB Non-Scientific Analysis

If the attacks come from bad guys based on the Internet, then the outages could be 9 - 18 months. I see. And the money at stake is so large as to be impossible to estimate. Thanks to recent debates over the US budget and deficit, my eyes and ears are now well accustomed to figures of $15 Trillion and beyond, but clearly the damages from hacking the grid must be even higher. "Some percentage" ?!?  You mean, a non-zero percentage that's so high as to be incalculable, right? And although I've never used the term WTF in this blog before, in the murky world of cyber attack and cyber security, WTF is "an ideal level of protection"?

In case you feel like I'm manipulating you, you can read the whole piece HERE. But suffice it to say, do we really need this? Are these types of "studies" and "journalism" doing much to advance thinking and spur action on securing the grid, or rather simply aiming at inciting panic?

I'll try to keep from blurting out what I really think.

Apocalytic image courtesy of PSD Collector