Something is Afoot…

OG-AA794_GRIDAT_NS_20140204171308Back in April of 2013 there was an attack on a power station in Southern California. The attack was calculated, detailed, planned, and execute well. There were many details that perked my interest including the oil tanks being targeted instead of the windings themselves. This would limit catastrophic damage to the transformer. Additionally numerous fiber-optic lines in the area were cut, including those run by Level 3 Communications.

I have read a few writeup discussing the attack and I did come across one theory that was interesting.

Gabriel: Have you ever heard of Harry Houdini? Well he wasn’t like today’s magicians who are only interested in television ratings. He was an artist. He could make an elephant disappear in the middle of a theater filled with people, and do you know how he did that? Misdirection.
Stanley: What the f*** are you talking about?
Gabriel: Misdirection. What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes.
Swordfish movie (2001)

[See the PowerPoint here]

On the morning of the 16th of April 2013 the following events unfolded at, and around, the PG&E Metcalf Transmission Substation in San Jose, Calif.:

  • 12:58 a.m. AT&T fiber-optic telecommunications cables were cut not far from U.S. Highway 101 just outside south San Jose.
  • 1:07 a.m. Some customers of Level 3 Communications, an Internet service provider, lost service. Cables in its vault near the Metcalf substation were also cut.
  • 1:31 a.m. A surveillance camera pointed along a chain-link fence around the substation recorded a streak of light that investigators from the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office think was a signal from a waved flashlight. It was followed by the muzzle flash of rifles and sparks from bullets hitting the fence.
  • 1:37 a.m. PG&E confirms received an alarm from motion sensors at the substation, possibly from bullets grazing the fence.
  • 1:41 a.m. San Jose Sheriff’s department received a 911 call about gunfire, sent by an engineer at a nearby power plant that still had phone service.
  • 1:45 a.m. The first bank of transformers, riddled with bullet holes and having leaked 52,000 gallons of oil, overheated – at which time PG&E’s control center about 90 miles north received an equipment-failure alarm.
  • 1:50 a.m. Another apparent flashlight signal, caught on film, marked the end of the attack. More than 100 shell casings of the sort ejected by AK-47s were later found at the site.
  • 1:51 a.m. Law-enforcement officers arrived, but found everything quiet. Unable to get past the locked fence and seeing nothing suspicious, they left.
  • 3:15 a.m. A PG&E worker arrives to survey the damage.

The damage to the substation took 27 days to repair and cost $15.4 Million. In the substation’s 500kV yard, ten transformers were damaged; In the 230kV yard, seven transformers were damaged; In the 115kV yard, 6 circuit breakers were damaged. It was also claimed that a total of 52,000 gallons of mineral oil (used for cooling) leaked as a result of the bullet strikes.

The damage to the fiber-optic telecommunications infrastructure was repaired within 24 hours. AT&T had six cables cut and needed to install new cables to work around the affected area. LEVEL 3 Communications had one cable cut, which was repaired within 10 hours.

The attack on the substation was so over-the-top, especially given that no long-term damage was inflicted, that it more appropriately should have been an entry in Bruce Schneier’s Movie Plot Threat Contest. The trope “orgy of evidence” comes to mind because the attack was so inconsequential for the level of effort expended. Sure it lightened PG&E’s wallet and provided an opportunity for endless sound bites by consultants and lobbyists touting their employers agendas, but nobody’s lights went out as a result of this attack.

So this brings us back to Houdini’s misdirection. Two events occur, one is over-the-top and will obviously lead in the morning media, the other deals with some cut cables in holes next to railroad tracks – decidedly non-spectacular and non-photogenic.

The thing is is that the Metcalf Transmission Substation is next to railroad tracks. And it happens that the railroads’ right of way is used to run fiber-optic cables. I’m sure you’ve heard of SPRINT, which use to be SP Communications, which was founded by Southern Pacific Railroad way back when. Fiber is why all the big name companies in Silicon Valley want to be as close to the railroad tracks as possible!

If we assume that the real target was the telecommunications infrastructure, how would someone tap some of the most monitored lines in the world?

By causing the fiber cables to be so extensively damaged that new sections have to be pulled to work around the damage. This level of disruption would require that any quality/security scans performed – using optical time domain reflectometers (OTDRs) – be re-calibrated after the repairs. The new cable sections could have been pre-engineered to have clip-on couplers (passive taps) built in that exert “micro bending” (i.e., spatial wavelength displacement). If they are detectable by the OTDR they would probably show up as noise near the repaired areas and be ignored. And the voila! Job done.

The next challenge for the strike team would be getting the output from the couplers to somewhere it could be analyzed. Once it was confirmed that the couplers had not been detected, then another team could move in and install appropriate transmitters or couple them into dark fiber for back-haul to data extraction.

We may never know the who/why of this attack. The over-the-top nature of it suggests that it was corporate sponsored as opposed to sovereign. The Metcalf Substation does have some interesting corporate neighbors, but given the nature of the communications traffic flowing in that right of way just about anyone using or traversing that corridor could have been the target.

TL;DR: The substation was actually a diversion.

But there wasn’t much to give credence to the situation until I saw my inbox this morning. Let me repeat something before we start with the new data:

Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three or more times is enemy action. And I don’t believe in coincidence.

Lets start with the first article that hit my inbox, USA today.

The FBI is investigating at least 11 physical attacks on high-capacity Internet cables in California’s San Francisco Bay Area dating back a year, including one early Tuesday morning.

Agents confirm the latest attack disrupted Internet service for businesses and residential customers in and around Sacramento, the state’s capital.

FBI agents declined to specify how significantly the attack affected customers, citing the ongoing investigation. In Tuesday’s attack, someone broke into an underground vault and cut three fiber-optic cables belonging to Colorado-based service providers Level 3 and Zayo.

The attacks date back to at least July 6, 2014, said FBI Special Agent Greg Wuthrich.

(Emphasis mine.) Well that’s interesting, but it doesn’t sound all that interesting. The article does note that the incidents have occurred in remote areas but attempts to play it as merely petty vandalism to delay people from getting their cat videos. (No I’m not making it up, see this line…)

Backup systems help cushion consumers from the worst of the attacks, meaning people may notice slower email or videos not playing, but may not have service completely disrupted, he said.

But repairs are costly and penalties are not stiff enough to deter would-be vandals, Doherty said.

“It’s a terrible social crime that affects thousands and millions of people,” he said.

First you have to catch the vandals to fine them, and if this has nothing to do with vandalizing infrastructure but instead tapping it this is a very serious thing. But certainly those lines will help calm those who don’t know details, have the attention span of a squirrel, and don’t have the memory to correlate other external events that are most likely related.

Now lets flip over to the Wall Street Journal.

The latest attack hit several cables in Livermore, Calif., shortly before 4:30 a.m. Pacific time and hadn’t been repaired as of early Tuesday evening, according to several Internet service providers affected by the outage. Some operators complained that law enforcement activity made it harder for crews to fix the problem.

“It’s very inconvenient in terms of getting up at 4 in the morning,” said Peter Kranz, chief executive of local Internet provider Unwired Ltd.

FBI Special Agent Greg Wuthrich said the agency understood operators’ frustration but needed its investigators to look for evidence before anyone patches up the cuts.

“When some of the first cuts were taking place, the cuts and cables were fixed, and there was no evidence, no anything to look at,” he said. “We just need to have a little bit more time to have our people go in.”

I love the complaints about law enforcement making it difficult to repair the communication lines because they want to inspect and collect evidence. This is a classic case of “repair the problem, investigate no further on root cause.” Please stop digging you could induce panic.

Again the paper plays this off not nearly as serious almost as if it’s just some kids out pranking the world. Then we get to the local paper…

The severed fiber optic cables that disrupted Sacramento-area communications is just one in a series of 11 Bay Area incidents in the past year being investigated by the FBI.

Phone, television and Internet services were disrupted in Auburn and the surrounding areas following three severed cables in Alameda County Tuesday morning, according to the federal agency.

Since July 6, 2014, there have been 11 incidents of vandalism to fiber optic cable networks in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

FBI Special Agent Greg Wuthrich said at this point it is unclear why the cables are being damaged, but said state and federal law enforcement are coordinating on the investigation.

According to communications provider Wave Broadband, three major fiber optic cables were severed at around 4:20 a.m., causing service outages in Sacramento, Rocklin and Auburn areas.

Wait, it wasn’t just one cable shared by multiple service providers, but three different cables? Additionally as these were related to the backbone and given one of the providers involved you just tapped a decent chunk of the internet. Just what the hell is going on down there. I start searching for more information, including something on the Metcalf substation incident to try to cross reference and discover this:

The Silicon Valley power substation that was attacked by a sniper in April 2013 was hit by thieves early Wednesday morning, according to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, despite increased security.

The substation, near San Jose, Calif., is the source of energy for thousands of customers, and the idea that it was the target of a well-organized attack, and that it might have been disabled for an extended period, raised anxieties about the possible broader vulnerability of the grid. The attack this week did not involve gunfire, and it did not seem intended to disable the facility.

The date on that “theft” is August 27, 2014. The recent string of attacks on the fibre lines started July 2014. Tell me, if you wanted to inspect the response and repair actions of an attack couldn’t you just easily disguise it as a simple theft? You could get up close and personal and inspect exactly how the substation was repaired and what additional actions were taken to harden the substation.

Look, I’m a big fan of Halon’s razor and I hate conspiracy theories because honestly 99% of them are bullshit. But we have multiple, repeat incidents. There were clues and suspicion of possible nation-state involvement which were dismissed. We have an administration who actively works to diminish the significance of attacks and events that surround us and affect us in deep and profound ways. Additionally we see that there are outside nation states who have taken a keen interest in the United States. Just look at the Office of Personnel Management hack, seriously that is a threat beyond what most realize. Then while all this is going on we have people calling to critically weaken our cyber security infrastructure, in the name of stopping terrorism.

There is someone gathering intelligence, placing equipment in the correct locations, and improving their leverage against us. We’re in a technological cold war and we’re seeing the spill over from the physical side of things. Things are not looking good, safe, or secure, especially with over 18 trillion in national debt. Stay safe and keep your powder dry.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

On Lists… (Alt Title: In which I make some people hate me…)

So currently there are a large number of people screaming about a list that someone compiled of all the politicians in Connecticut that voted for the assault weapons ban.  Predictably the other side promptly held up the list as an indicator as we’re out of control and attempting to “chill debate”.

A bunch of people on our side started screaming about how that not helping, stating that we must perceiver and rely upon the ballot box and the jury box.  I originally wrote this as a reply to someone on Facebook but figured it would be better placed here.

The problem here is we’re all forgetting the scope of the game we’re playing.  Not only that we’re ceding moves and pieces for a perceived moral stature increase that doesn’t actually count much at all in this game.  One side of this is already threatening force.  It however won’t be the politician who kicks in someone’s door at 3am, endangering everyone from law enforcement, to children, to the parents.  Honestly it should be the politician who pays, he’s the one that wrote the check that he’s making everyone else cash.

At the same time many also started screaming “well pack up and move.”  I’d like to point out packing up and moving only works for so long.  Believe me, my family knows quite well, we basically were chased across the US as we kept moving west to stay on the frontier.  The same will keep happening legislatively, and even worse when enough states have fallen, they can be used as examples to infringe on your rights from the federal level.  Think how concealed carry was finally forced upon Illinois.  If everyone had just packed up and moved, would that have changed there?  If everyone just packed up and left for “greener pastures” would concealed carry have been won in the states who didn’t have it?  Plus you end up ceding ground which they then use against you later as an example of what is “allowable”.  Think in the inverse, what if only one state had a CCW law and an attempt at a federal ban on carry was attempted?  49 other states might make SCOTUS go yeah that’s reasonable.

No, you must fight.  Retreat when you must, but do not do so hastily and you must have a plan for coming back.

Frankly inviting all these people from other states that are crashing eventually backfires because many of the same people start voting for the same crap that got them in trouble to begin with.  Believe me, Washington is being overrun with people from California and I’m watching it happen.  Ask people in Texas about the California invasion as well.

But back to the list, politicians, and the game.  I could give two shits about the list.  Doesn’t really matter other than it plays better as a political tool by the opposition than for the friendlies.  So do I wish it had not been published, yeah.  But at the same time it serves are a reminder to the politicians exactly the ballgame they’re playing.  If the card has been dealt in the open you might as well play with the damn thing.

But Barron, we must exercise the soap box, ballot box, and jury box.  We had successes in Colorado with the recall, we don’t need force yet.

Well what am I doing here, and you doing there, and what was he doing by publishing the list?  Last I checked, that all falls in the realm of soap box.  But to think that all states will be OK because one successfully recalled, and was lucky enough to have a recall process, is also naïve.  Not all states have a recall process.

Seriously, the game we’re playing the time periods are much shorter than election cycles and many are acting knowing they will loose their jobs.  They don’t care, they’re being bought by our enemies.  But why would that be?

The first rule of any game is to realize you’re in one.  Their goal is to do the damage with no way to hit “undo”.  Tell me, what is the punishment for passing an unconstitutional law?  What is the punishment for enforcing an unconstitutional law?  Who really pays to right the wrongs and who actually gets the reparations in the end?  Just look at New Orléans and the Katrina fiasco for those answers.

But Barron, I just don’t think the time is right yet…

That is your opinion and you have every right to it.  But, everyone has their own lines in the sand.  If them kicking in the doors to people’s homes and taking them by force, and let’s not bullshit here this is what’s being discussed,  good for you.  Not everyone however views this in the same light and for many that is the line in the sand of no going back.

The enforcement of any laws–local,state or federal–that through the action or inaction of the courts makes nugatory the individual means of resisting tyranny, justifies resistance.

Don’t like it? Get the police to say screw off regarding enforcement.  Currently though there are two sides of this coin, one side is the state wanting, and willing, to use force.  The other side is preparing to strike back, not strike first, at those truly responsible should it happen.

But Barron we should fully exhaust the political route before fighting back.

The British rolled up one April 19th, should we have continued to wait hoping our pleas to the king for a political solution panned out?

No we fought while also trying to achieve a peaceful political solution.   War is an ugly nasty business.  However to dismiss the violence they will bring against you by saying “ballot box” while laying down your arms is already admitting defeat.  Your enemy is willing to use force while you are not.  By default he wins.  You have lost the game.

And that folks is the problem.  Welcome to the pot of boiling water.  The heat was cranked up quite quickly and we very rapidly found ourselves in the very predicament we are in today.  Does it suck?  You bet your ass it does.  Do I  wish it was different?  Yup.  Do I want to have another civil war?  Hell no, but that isn’t really up to me now is it?

In the words of Malcolm Reynolds,

If someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill them right back.

The answer to this problem is quite simple, “don’t start nothin’, won’t be nothin’.”  If this side was as truly blood hungry as the opposition thinks, crap would have already gone down.  At the same time, trying to make us all pacifists by screaming about the Soap, Ballot, and Jury boxes, implies that when a criminal is robbing us we should only every rely on those tools.  Why bother with the firearms at all if we can’t defend ourselves and then go after the person who tried to kill us by proxy?

The ball is truthfully in the state’s court.  All they have to do is respect the rights of their citizens and nothing will happen.  Trample those rights, and well some may fight back.  Some may go after the very people who passed the laws.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

I see a business opportunity…

So it appears that the powers that be think that it is necessary to train with the following types of targets:

LET-1LET-5LET-7LET-6

Sadly this type of crap isn’t a joke and it’s down right real.

I just had an epiphany though.  Someone needs to make some Jack-Booted Thug targets.  Not just jack-booted thug targets but also some generic corrupt police officer targets.  Targets such as:

urlimgres

We can keep moving forward though.

urlurl

The state keeps working on increasing the rift between us and them.  They apparently feel the need to train to shoot pregnant women and children, so why not train for the reality that you may need to shoot a corrupt police officer that has no problems with killing you.  Doubly so since he will be protected by “qualified immunity”.

Remember how often they use force when it’s unnecessary.  Just look at the recent incident with the LAPD.  Why are they training to be more willing to use force against the weakest in society?  If they seem to think that everyone under the sun is their enemy, why should we think that any of them could still possibly be friendly?

If they’re going to train to kill us all and let god sort it out, why aren’t we doing the same?**

h/t Kevin Baker.

**Note I’m not condoning violence against police officers, but they sure are condoning violence against us.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

SSCC #512 & #513: Lake Stevens

Lake Stevens has agreed to pay $100,000 to a young couple after two officers, without a warrant, forced their way into their home and forcibly arrested the man over a day-old traffic confrontation.

Screwed up barely begins to describe this situation and honestly those two officers are lucky they weren’t perforated.  In the current political climate, officers behaving like this could very well set off a powder keg.

Go read the whole story, it’s long enough and complicated enough I cannot easily post get all the details here.  However here’s the money shot:

Berg said Warbis and Wellington remain members of the Lake Stevens Police Department.

Reading through the comments indicates that Lake Stevens has a serious problem with this type of behavior and corruption.

State Sponsored Criminal #512: Steve Warbis

#513: James Wellington

Because warrants, probable cause, and all that other stuff are for other police officers.  These two can kick in whatever door they want, arrest whoever they want, threaten whoever they want, out of uniform, and absolutely nothing will happen to the officers.  Instead the taxpayers payout for their crimes.

via Marc.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

You want to see why the power is still out in parts of NY?

Just look at this picture.

Image via WFTV

What did that man do to get assaulted?

Applewhite said he had just finished working a 13-hour day and was going to get dinner with the rest of his crew when he stepped out of his utility truck and was attacked by a resident.

Honestly if I was with any utility crew that was in the area to help restore power I’d pack up and leave.  They were up all the way from Florida to help.  Even if I lived in the area and worked locally, I’d pack up and move.  When you attack the people trying to help you, you don’t deserve help.  You deserve to suffer and be stuck solving the problem on your own.

He left his family to go help and work long hours in the process.  His reward for that was a broken jaw and multiple fractures.

Can someone please explain to me how this was some how supposed to aid in the restoration of power?  Does a black eye and broken jaw help a lineman do his job safely?  Does it some how give him magical powers to see what needs to be done to the line to bring it back into service?

What I do absolutely love though is that idiot Mayor absolutely doesn’t care because it didn’t involve the use of a firearm.  Heaven forbid he actually bring in the National Guard to help maintain order and provide a safe working environment for utility crews.  Nope, only his anointed class can carry firearms in the city.  In the mean time utility workers are being assaulted for trying to get the lights back on.

Personally, I say leave them in the dark and let them rot if that’s how they’re going to behave.  Things aren’t magically fixed overnight no matter how bad you want them to be.  Evidently massive damage can be magically undone with a snap of the fingers.  Up to and including transformer replacement, line replacement, pole replacement, substation replacement, protective relay replacement, and line communication replacement.  Will the individual who discovered this ability to fix things at the snap of their fingers please start a company to provide services, they could certainly be used in a time like this.

As for dealing with this problem, at minimum leave the lights off till that man’s buddies turn him in.  You know he went and bragged to someone about beating up a utility crew to “show them they mean business.”  Well just leave the lights off until the car and owner is found.

Seriously, incidents like this piss me right the hell off and I am being quite honest about letting them fix this crap themselves if that’s how they’re going to behave.  You think a couple of weeks are bad, try a couple of years when no one helps next time.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

How Desperate They Are For Members…

It is no hidden fact that I hate unions with a dead level passion.  At one time they had a purpose but honestly if you dislike your working conditions, quit and go work some place else.  No one is holding a gun to your head to work there.

Well it seems that some union shops, in an effort to gain more members, are using the fallout and suffering from hurricane Sandy to intimidate others into either joining or no helping.  You think I’m lying?

The hurricane-ravaged east coast has been receiving north Alabama help, but crews learned they could not help out in New Jersey unless they affiliated with a union.

These guys drove up from Alabama to help and were greeted with a join our club or !@#$ off.  But people are without power, power that many need to survive.  In the end though their own neighbors don’t care.  If the outside assistance doesn’t want to join their coercive club to funnel money to a political party the group offering help might disagree with the locals would rather their neighbors freeze and starve.

You know what, I’d drive my ass back home too.  Screw ’em, if that’s the attitude you have towards helping in a time of an emergency I say let Darwin weed out a few more of you bastards.  Maybe the people will find out exactly what you did and they’ll run you and your union out of town on a rail.  I would like to point out I spend a lot of my own time and money volunteering to help, but by god I don’t need to be treated like that when I volunteer to help.

Now my coworker said they should just shoot the bastards who are telling help to turn around and leave over not being unionized.  My only issue with that is that it shouldn’t be the people trying to help getting their hands dirty, it should be the people who’s suffering is being used for political leverage.  Seriously, those who are without power need to be beating the hell out of these men who are prolonging the emergency unnecessarily.

Unsurprisingly you didn’t hear about any government officials telling the unions to STFU and do what’s necessary to get the job done.  This isn’t the first time unions have used tragedy to further their position.  My suggestion is if you live in New Jersey, start yelling at utility workers for refusing help.  Even if it isn’t the same utility, put the pressure back on them for not keeping their brothers in check.

h/t Bitter.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

No, I Think You Missed The Point…

“If you think a control-system attack that takes down a utility even for a few hours is not serious, just look at what is happening now that Mother Nature has taken out those utilities,” Napolitano said at a Washington Post cybersecurity event, noting the effects in some cases can be “life threatening.”

While yes, cybersecurity should be taken seriously, Sandy is not an example of how dangerous a cyber attack could be.

What do I mean I hear you cry?  Sandy is a prime example of what someone could do to physically interrupt the power system.  While you could find a way to get a breaker to open or close unintentionally, the easier method of disrupting utilities is to find critical points and physically knock them out.

First, let me do a quick explanation of what’s going on in the NYC area.  Most power distribution in the NYC area is below ground.  This makes it below sea level.  This is one of the reasons they shut down many areas early, in an effort to protect equipment so that it can return to service more quickly.  Still, that equipment has to be cleaned, transformers for example have to be washed, insulation checked, and refilled with cooling oil.  This takes time, though much less time than having to fly in a replacement transformer, removing the old one, and installing and commissioning the new one.

So what we have is a bunch of distribution points that were/are full of water, need to be drained, the equipment cleaned, checked, maintained, and replaced possibly in some instances.  All of this must be done before re-energizing that circuit.

So why did I take the time to explain all that?  Well because it illustrates that if done properly, a physical attack, can easily do more damage than any cyber attack, and even more than that you have decreased the potential recovery time.  But that’s not all.  Say you execute an attack on physical infrastructure and take out 2 transmission level transformers on a main artery.

You have now done triple digit damage in the millions if not more.  Plus it will take 2-3 years, at a minimum, to replace the transformers.  Any stock they have for those transformers is in very limited supply.  This means if you hit a couple of places at once, you could very well permanently cripple the ability for a region to get the power necessary to operate.

Seriously, think about this, cyber-security to protect assets worth millions of dollars and provide hundreds of millions in revenue are going to be left unguarded by their owners and operators?  Get real.  The bigger and harder problem is physical security.  How do you stop someone from running a truck into a transmission tower?

Why do I bring all this up?  Because our overlords often start screaming about “necessity” in an effort to create new regulations and requirements which honestly are unnecessary.  They’re unnecessary because do you think a utility company doesn’t want to protect its equipment?  For every minute a transmission line is down they’re loosing millions of dollars in lost revenue.

We’ve seen these cries before and yet again it is to drum up “FUD” among people who don’t really understand how the system works.  FUD is how you make a bunch of people clamor to do something when nothing really needs to be done.  That’s what Janet’s doing with her latest ramblings.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

An Image I’ve Been Meaning To Do…

So I am by no means a Photoshop god, far from it as a matter of fact.   Someone sent me something recently and it was begging to get the full on treatment.  Well to get it out before the elections over, because honestly who would care after the fact, I just did it in a meme form.

AkwardMoment

 

I really wanted to recolorize the picture and put Biden in Joker makeup, but alas I don’t have the skills to get it done in minutes and I have other stuff I want to do.

Worthy of note however is the fact that this Administration has now killed more American Citizens willfully through malice, negligence, and being outright intentional than any administration before it.

What, you think I’m wrong?  Find me another administration who did something equivalent to the following three items:

We have a man who absolutely does not care about the health and well being of America or her citizens.  Even more than that he is willing to sacrifice them and then will attempt to use their deaths as political leverage.  These two villains need to go.

Even their own supporters admit that man of the policies pushed for by Obama are wrong and unconstitutional, but they become hypocrites when they find out it was their man who actually did it (ht to Weer’d).

Some how their sociopath won’t abuse his power for evil, and will help protect and defend American’s.  Except oh wait, he’s done the opposite again, but evidently we’re all imagining it.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.