Posts tagged: power grid

Will The Biggest Blackout In American History Be Eclipsed By Cyber Attack?

Will The Biggest Blackout In American History Be Eclipsed By Cyber Attack

During a hot summer day in August 2003, the lights went out across much of the Northeast and Midwest United States and the Canadian province of Ontario. It was the biggest blackout in American history, all triggered by nothing more than an overloaded, overheated power line in Ohio which sagged down low and hit tree foliage.

A ‘software bug’ in a control room alarm system failed to warn operators to re-distribute power which resulted in a cascading massive widespread grid failure.

Not long ago, power company executives gathered in Washington to discuss the reliability of the electric power grid. The major topic of discussion: Cyber attack

While the 2003 outage was much more widespread than the Northeast Blackout of 1965 and affected an estimated 10 million people in Ontario and 45 million people in eight U.S. states for up to several days, power company engineers worry that a cyber-attack could bring an even bigger blackout than has ever happened before.

The following are a few excerpted quotes from a conversation between David Greene and Tom Gjelten (NPR) with Mark Weatherford (former DHS cybersecurity), Michael Assante (NBISE president, cybersecurity expert), and James Fama (Edison Electric Institute) who revealed more substantiation for the emerging threat facing of our power grid… Cyber Attack.


“Now we can remotely manage devices via the Internet. So instead of putting somebody in a truck and having them drive a hundred miles to a substation in the middle of the mountains somewhere, you remotely manage that.”

“And then, really to no one’s fault at the time – we didn’t realize it – but didn’t think a lot about the security and the insecurity of doing that.”


“If you go to engineering school, you’re not taught about cybersecurity as part of becoming a power engineer.”


“The cyber threat. This is a new concern in the power industry, this idea that the electric grid could be shut down by hackers. Here’s what’s changed, two things. First, more of the equipment that makes up the electric grid – from the generators to the transformers – is now operated by computers. Mess with the computer, and you can turn the lights off.”

“When a computer is connected to the Internet, a good hacker can generally a find a way in. This is the new disaster scenario for power companies.”

“The concern now is that a really sophisticated cyberattack could cause a blackout bigger than anything we’ve ever seen.”

The loss of our electrical power grid. While most can deal with losing power for a few hours, if faced with life without electricity for several days, a week, weeks? or longer? then life as we know it will be disrupted beyond one’s wildest imagination.

We as a modern society have EXTREME dependence on the power grid. Electricity. The risk and consequences of losing electricity are so enormous, that every single one of us should consider the ramifications — even if only for a few days. If you begin to think about the consequences of a long-term blackout, you might scare yourself into taking some serious action…

Think about it…

By Ken Jorgustin

“Super EMP” Capable Of Disabling Power Grid Across Lower 48 States

“Super EMP” Capable of Disabling Power Grid Across Lower 48 States

For many years U.S. Intelligence agencies believed that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program was a failure due to the low explosive yield of their tests. According to EMPact America’s President and former CIA nuclear weapons analyst Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, this is not the case:

North Korea’s last round of tests, conducted in May 2009, appear to have included a “super-EMP” weapon, capable of emitting enough gamma rays to disable the electric power grid across most of the lower 48 states, says Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, a former CIA nuclear weapons analyst and president of EMPact America, a citizens lobbying group.

North Korea’s nuclear tests have been dismissed as failures by some analysts because of their low explosive yield. But Dr. Pry believes they bore the “signature” of the Russian-designed “super-EMP” weapon, capable of emitting more gamma radiation than a 25-megaton nuclear weapon.

Pry believes the U.S. intelligence community was expecting North Korea to test a first generation implosion device with an explosive yield of 10 to 20 kilotons, similar to the bomb the U.S. exploded over Nagasaki in 1945. He said, “So when they saw one that put off just three kilotons, they said it failed. That is so implausible.”

Source: Newsmax

Since EMP is a line-of-sight weapon, detonating one of these nukes about 300 miles above Nebraska could end life as we know it in America in about one second.

While North Korea may be the latest country to test such a weapon, it is clear that the technology has been available for nearly 50 years, and it has since been leaked to rogue nations, and perhaps rogue terror and shadow elements with the financing, capability, and wherewithal to use it:

Such a weapon — equal to a massive solar flare such as the “solar maxima” predicted by NASA to occur in 2016 — poses “substantial risk to equipment and operation of the nation’s power grid and under extreme conditions could result in major long-term electrical outages,” said Joseph McClelland of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Senate testimony last month.

Pry said that a group of Russian nuclear weapons scientists approached him in 2004 when he served as staff director of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, to warn the United States that the technology to make that weapon “had leaked” to North Korea, and possibly to Iran.

When we talk about potential terrorist action against the United States, we discuss this in the sphere of any organization, be it Al Queda, state-sponsored, or shadow government related. These weapons exist, and they are, without a doubt, the single biggest threat to the United States of America.

As we’ve previously reported, such a weapon, or group of weapons strategically detonated at lower altitudes, would completely wipe out the entire US power grid, vehicles, computers, cell phones, and anything else with an electric circuit.

The fall out would be nothing short of apocalyptic.

In July of 2010 EMPact America published an overview of the EMP 2010 Conference in which they discussed the threat EMP posed to the nation and the fact that very few people understand how great and imminent it is:

…An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, is a super energetic radio wave that’s immediately harmless to people, but it’ll burn out all the critical electronic systems that sustain human economic activity and human life across vast areas, including the entire continental United States.

– Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, President, EMPact America

The Center for Security Policy, in a report issued last year, has estimated that in the event of a wide-scale EMP attack on the United States, as many as nine out of ten Americans would be dead within one year:

“Within a year of that attack, nine out of 10 Americans would be dead, because we can’t support a population of the present size in urban centers and the like without electricity,” said Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy. “And that is exactly what I believe the Iranians are working towards.”

It doesn’t matter who it is. What does matter is that very few Americans are prepared for such an outlier.

The first 24 – 48 hours after such an occurrence will lead to confusion among the general population as traditional news acquisition sources like television, radio and cell phone networks will be non-functional.

Within a matter of days, once people realize the power might not be coming back on and grocery store shelves start emptying, the entire system will begin to delve into chaos.

Within 30 days a mass die off will have begun as food supplies dwindle, looters and gangs turn to violent extremes, medicine can’t be restocked and water pump stations fail.

Power outages happen all the time. But you’ll know an EMP has been detonated (or we’ve been hit by a massive solar event) if the power to your house goes off, cars are not starting, and your cell phone won’t turn on. If that happens, take a deep breath, say a prayer, and put the supplies and knowledge you’ve acquired to work, because it won’t be long before the golden horde wrecks havoc.


The Best (And Most Secure) Off-Grid Location When Society Ends

The Best (And Most Secure) Off-Grid Location When Society Ends

If you’re serious about surviving (and even thriving) if the power grid goes down and society as we know it ends, then you likely know one of the most important criteria to success is a good location off the grid. Some of us, due to family or work, need to live in suburbs or near a large city. If that’s the case, there’s a lot of good information out there about forming a group of like-minded individuals to protect each other, and to provide for each other, in case of disaster.

Others have more flexibility in their life, and can choose from a broader range of options of where to live. Obviously, your location depends on how you plan to live off the grid. For example, a group of people planning to raise grass-fed cattle requires a different geography than someone who wants to live alone in a mountain cabin, and hunt and forage. This article focuses on a family that plans to live off the grid with a modest garden for food or a little space for small animals like chickens or rabbits, but otherwise doesn’t need a lot of space.

So for those who want to have a small homestead who are able to live where they want, keep in mind the following criteria when choosing a location.

1. Security

When the power grid fails, you want to be as far away as possible from large population centers. There are many reasons for this, but the primary one is that in the days and weeks after societal breakdown, there will be a lot of desperate and hungry people. After the stores have been looted and the weak robbed, they’ll branch out to nearby towns and farms.

Worse, as time goes on, many believe that the strong will form roaming bands of thugs, traveling around in armed convoys and stealing whatever they need.

A good rule of thumb is to be further away than a vehicle can travel on a full tank of gasoline. This means being 200 to 400 miles away from the big cities.

2. Water

Your homestead has to have a guaranteed supply of fresh water that is readily available. The best source is surface water, such as streams, rivers or lakes. At my homestead, I have a creek next to the house. While I have a pump that pulls water from the creek, and a filtration system to clean and disinfect the water, it relies on power. In a world without electricity, and if my off-the-grid power system has intermittent failures, I’ll revert to my stainless steel buckets to collect the water and fire to kill bacteria.

A lot of survivalists and preppers don’t have access to surface water, but have wells. The drawback is that in an unknown future, off-the-grid power sources may not last for more than a few years, and new pumps won’t be available. One option is to add a manual hand-pump to the well, so that you can draw water without power. There are kits available to do this, but they won’t be practical on the deepest wells.

3. Power

Image source:

Image source:

You also need to choose a location that complements your choice of power, whether it be a back-up to available electricity, or a true off-the-grid system. For example, if you plan on using solar power, then your homestead needs a location where the solar panels can get sunlight eight hours a day, and you need to be located in an area of the country that reliably gets sunshine most of the year.

If wind power is part of your power system, then consider a part of the country that regularly gets wind. North and South Dakota, Montana, and Texas are great states for wind power.

4. Food

The right location will complement your plan for food. If a serious, self-sustaining garden is a major part of your plan for food, then there a lot of factors to consider. The further north, or higher in elevation, you go, the shorter the growing season. It is true that great gardens are possible in the northern states, but on the flip side there are many parts of the country where you can grow three or four seasons a year. Another consideration is water. If your off-the-grid power system falters, even for a few days, getting sufficient water to a robust garden may not be feasible. So consider parts of the country that get plenty of rainfall all year, so that you can minimize or eliminate supplemental gardening. The homestead will also need a spot with fairly level ground, good soil, and eight hours of sunlight a day.

If your family hunts or fishes, then availability of wildlife is something to consider. Our nation’s lakes and streams are abundant with fish, and often waterfowl is nearby. In many parts of the country, deer roam the wilderness, along with smaller game like pheasants and rabbits. Keep in mind, however, that if food becomes scarce, a lot of city folks will be flooding nearby woods and lakes for game. That’s another reason why a healthy distance from population centers is important.

5. People Living Nearby

If you find a location far enough away from major population centers that fits your plan for water, power generation, and food, chances are there may be someone else living nearby. This can be a good thing or a bad thing.

It’s good if you can get to know them. Some of them may share your desire for self-sufficiency, albeit to a lesser degree. If that’s the case, then find out if you have skills or supplies that they might need in case of societal degeneration, and vice versa. Maybe they have livestock they’d be willing to trade for corn, potatoes and carrots from your garden. Or maybe they have skills or supplies they’d be willing to barter for your eggs or rabbit meat.

But be careful. The last thing you want is a group of people living nearby that is not prepared for an off-grid society, especially if they have guns and know that you have a five-year supply of freeze-dried food and a bountiful garden. While it’s crucial to get to know the people who live nearby so you can gauge if they’ll be helpful or harmful if society ends as we know it, go slow. One of the reasons I moved from my 40-acre, off-the-grid homestead was that the other 40-acre plots were mostly owned by people who had a lot of guns but no preparations intact for the future. If things got bad, I would be one of the first they would turn to. Kind of scary, actually.

The perfect off-the-grid location is dependent on you and how you plan to live now and in the future. Keep in mind the considerations discussed here when choosing that perfect location.

What tips and advice would you add? Share them in the section below:

By Malaya Careta