Could the US lose power if the electrical grid is hacked?

Infrastructure is arguably the most important component holding together western society. The utility and transportation grids keep us from falling apart in many ways. Could hackers cripple the country with the click of a button?

Over the past few months, the discoveries of two engineers have led to a steady trickle of alarms from the Department of Homeland Security concerning a threat to the nation’s power grid. Yet hardly anyone has noticed.

The advisories concern vulnerabilities in the communication protocol used by power and water utilities to remotely monitor control stations around the country. Using those vulnerabilities, an attacker at a single, unmanned power substation could inflict a widespread power outage.

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