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Hearing Shows How 'Military-Style' Raid On Calif. Power Station Spooks U.S. 396

Posted by timothy
from the what-was-bruce-schneier-doing-that-evening dept.
Lasrick writes "Interesting piece about April's physical attack on a power station near San Jose, California, that now looks like a dress rehearsal for future attacks: Quote: 'When U.S. officials warn about "attacks" on electric power facilities these days, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a computer hacker trying to shut the lights off in a city with malware. But a more traditional attack on a power station in California has U.S. officials puzzled and worried about the physical security of the the electrical grid--from attackers who come in with guns blazing.'"
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Hearing Shows How 'Military-Style' Raid On Calif. Power Station Spooks U.S.

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  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday December 28, 2013 @11:43PM (#45809355) Homepage

    Building cinder-block walls around transformers in the transmission power grid might not be a bad idea. Cheap, and if concrete-filled, will stop most ammo. After a decade of anti-terrorism hype, it's surprising this hasn't been done yet. Most anti-terrorism studies of electric power grids mention transformers in the transmission system as a vulnerable point. It's not necessary to heavily protect the whole switchyard. Switchgear is easier and cheaper to replace than transformers, and less vulnerable. The transformers occupy only a small fraction of substation area.

    Transformer substations are something that people, even in the utility industry, don't think about much. They're very reliable, need little attention, and are usually unmanned. So they tend to be ignored unless there's a problem.

    It's embarrassing that PG&E has such poor surveillance of a major substation. The video, grainy analog black and white with slow VHS-type artifacts, means they haven't upgraded since the 1980s or 1990s. It's not like color HD cameras are expensive any more.

  • Re:IANAT (terrorist) (Score:5, Informative)

    by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Sunday December 29, 2013 @12:19AM (#45809489)
    Actually, if you were serious about acting against a particular target, then finding out the methods, timing, degree, and flexibility of their response is indeed important, especially if your own resources are particularly limited or if the location is inimical to withdrawal (which actually could be used for a secondary attack against responders, depending on the outcome of the "test" attack). These sorts of things are not nearly so straightforward or intuitive as you imagine. They're not called "strategy" and "tactics" without a reason.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 29, 2013 @01:00AM (#45809623)

    >If Canada sent a drone and bombed a US wedding
    If we were allowing violent Quebecois Liberation groups to build bases and perform cross border raids...

    Iran is a bad example because they are anti-Al Qaeda and would probably support the US war on extreme sunni islam. Also, Ahmadinejad isn't president anymore.

  • Re:first shot (Score:4, Informative)

    by cdwiegand (2267) <> on Sunday December 29, 2013 @01:56AM (#45809787) Homepage

    Ah, but there wouldn't BE any armed civilians, because as soon as they pull their Glock from their concealed carry place, they're now "open carry", and as such become targets themselves. Quick way to weed out everyone carrying a gun, leaving only the police and military with guns.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe