COAST TO COAST AM – December 2, 2015
In the first half of Tuesday’s show, former anchor and managing editor of ABC News Nightline, Ted Koppel , revealed that a devastating cyberattack on America’s power grid is not only possible but likely and that the United States is shockingly unprepared. There are some 3200 separate electric companies in the US, and while some of the bigger ones have taken precautions against cyberattacks, they are interconnected in a grid via the Internet with some of the smaller, less protected companies, he explained. The Internet wasn’t really designed for a defense system to be imposed upon it, and in the pre-Internet days the electric power industry was much less vulnerable, he pointed out.
A sophisticated cyberattack could take out all or part of a grid, knocking out power for weeks or even months for millions of Americans in a worst case scenario, he warned. While the Chinese and Russians are the most capable of such an attack, because of their interlocking interests with America, it’s more likely that a country such as North Korea or terrorist group like ISIS would mount an act of cyberwarfare against the US, he said. People in cities will be particularly hard hit in a long power outage, as running water/toilets will cease to work, and this could lead to a health crisis, he noted. One sign of progress is with “micro grids” (localized grouping of electricity sources) which have started to appear in some rural areas, Koppel reported. For more, check out a trailer for his new book, Lights Out.