Tuesday, June 10, 2008

We can always dream....

A nice idea but oh well... no Chinese hackers this time

A recent report from the National Journal cited computer security executives and U.S. intelligence officials blaming Chinese government hackers for two major U.S. power outages. We already debunked the claim with respect to the massive 2003 northeast blackout. Now the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council has released its preliminary report (.pdf) on the February 26th 2008 Florida outage, and -- no surprise -- human error, not cyber terrorism, is to blame.

And from the money quote from the FEAT Report

Although the initiating cause of the event is still under review by the Field Personnel Actions Review Team (FPART), a sub-team of the FEAT, the preliminary cause is currently linked to the disabling, by a relay field engineer, of all local protective relay equipment while troubleshooting
an associated 138 kV switch. The FRCC Handbook requires that “each system operator shall notify the FRCC Security Coordinator when a protective relay or equipment failure that reduces system reliability occurs.” Although the FEAT has not come to any conclusions regarding this part of the analysis, the nature of this procedure and its importance warrants that it be reaffirmed by the FRCC OC to ensure that FRCC system operators and relay field personnel
understand the intent and importance of the procedure when performing maintenance on FRCC bulk power system elements.

But a nice thought than an Nmap scan summoned a blackout...

Hat Tip: Fergdawg on SCADASEC-L

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