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DOE Releases Interim Report on Blackouts/Power Outages, Focus on Cyber Security
From: Geoff Shively (gshivelypivx.com)
Date: Fri Nov 21 2003 - 04:17:24 CST
The Department of Energy (http://www.energy.gov) has released a interim
report on the Aug 14th power outages.
*remote terminal units (RTU)
*distributed control systems (DCS)
*supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)
Straight to the good stuff, security.... which starts on page 29, (phase 2
of failure matrix) the SWG (Security Working Group, or Star Wars Galaxies ;)
outlines that computer failure was a primary cause of the blackouts. Logging
systems failed first, 3 Remote Terminals (RTUs) failed along with
unspecified 'dial-ups'. Can anyone shed some light on what 'dial-ups' they
are talking about?
~~~~~~~~~~~ Key Events ~~~~~~~~~~~
The first computer failure was to logging and alarm systems.
14:14 EDT: The control room operators lost the logging and alarm function.
14:20 EDT: Several remote location console failed
14:41 EDT: The primary control system server hosting the alarm function
failed/ Its applications and functions were passed over to a backup server
that was standing by.
14:54 EDT: The back-up computer failed, and all functions that were running
on it stopped.
Refresh rates of screens displaying critical data were reduced on an average
of 1 to 3 seconds, and slowed as long as 59 seconds per screen. For data
that changes hundreds of times a second, I would say that renders the
terminals useless. Quite similar to what Sandia National Laboratories
(http://www.sandia.gov/) illustrates here, misrepresentation or spoofed data
Sadly this report is over 130 pages, but draws no definitive links or cause
to the failures. In one paragraph malice activity is being denounced, the
next it's said that investigations are inconclusive and need more effort.
At least they admit all over the report that the SCADA, DCS, RTU, and EMS
systems are all insecure and highly vulnerable- something that many pledged
was untrue when this topic first surfaced.
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