(12-31-2016, 02:28 PM)JayRodney Wrote: I find it hard to believe a utility company doesn't have an IT guy that can shut that down in a couple minutes
Cheap ass sum bitches, or lame IT peeps, I do not know, but it ain't Russia FFS.
I can speak to that, JR, after having worked more years than I care to admit in a public utility's power generation/dispatch.
Power Co's ARE hooked to the grid, they need to be for instantaneous voltage regulation. Very few operators today could be put in manual control mode and keep things steady ~ it requires tremendous experience, luck and ability to have supply meet demand with perfect voltage sync continuously, around the clock. Power regulation is one of the TRUE benefits of computerization, let there be no doubt about it.
Very few power cos (if any) have round the clock IT peeps monitoring this stuff. They put their trust in 'firewalls' ~ as does everyone else on the planet. We know how effective that is.
Of course, there are redundancies, and one would have to know their way around the operating software in use, (but I imagine that's easy enough to obtain)
but a determined entity COULD cause a bunch of chaos and destruction that could lead to a catastrophic failure of much of the system.
(I remind you that everything east of the Rockies in the U.S. and parts of Canada, except for parts of Texas are interconnected.) In a cascading failure, load could likely not be shed fast enough nor parts of the system isolated manually to avoid a massive system shut-down.
A larger threat in this area is EMP ~ either man-made or natural that could instantly shove modern society into the 19th century. They are not protected against that, either.
Now, Vermont is not the hub to worry about. The bigger metro areas are.
Does the identity of hackers matter, really? No. Assigning blame solves nothing. The fact any system could be hacked and CONTROLLED is the larger worry. Scrambling one system won't lead to collapse, but CONTROLLING it well could.
The argument is for protection, not blame, imo. But that costs money and doesn't make headlines or politics.