All the Lights will not go out in a Cyber Attack

Doing some research for an upcoming magazine article on cyber warfare, something dawned on me. One of the biggest threats that you hear is that hackers could take out the power grid and all the power would be shut off. America would be thrown back to the power stone age in the flick of a switch (or a series of SCADA exploits).

But is this true?

The answer is no.

Even if hackers (hacktivists or foreign Nation States) did infiltrate every power plant and somehow successfully shut down the entire power grid, many buildings and organizations would not be affected. Key government, military and even some commercial buildings would be unaffected. At most what they would experience would be a very brief power outage, and then the power would be right back on.

You see, as several utility companies seemed to have ignored the warnings of cyber attack, others have not. When I worked in the energy sector several years ago, the move was already on to provide alternative power to key US organizations. Even communication backup systems were created so that federal, state and local government agencies would be able to communicate in the event of a blackout.

These power systems are completely offline, impervious to electronic attack and can run for an extended amount of time. So even if “Cybergeddon” does occur, our nation will not be completely “in the dark”.

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