NSA Director Michael Rogers says that Chinese cyber hackers can shut down the power grid in the United States and essentially end life as we know it in America. According to the federal official, China and “one or two” other countries are capable of launching cyberattacks that terminate the ability of the power grid to function and shut down other “critical systems” nationwide.
The real possibility of massive and devastating power grid cyberattacks has long been discussed by both national security experts and the five million prepper families in the United States, but has not officially been confirmed by a “top cyber official” in the federal government until now. Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, not long after leaving office, that a cyberattack on the power grid was a matter of “when,” not “if.”
During a House Intelligence Committee hearing, NSA Director Michael Rogers said “adversaries” of the United States are currently engaging in “electronic reconnaissance” on a regular basis. Such activities are being conducted in order to ensure that China and other adversarial nations are “in a position to disrupt the industrial control systems” such as the power grid, which enable food and medication delivery and allow chemical facilities and water treatment plants to function.
The NSA director also said, “All of that leads me to believe it is only a matter of when, not if, we are going to see something dramatic. [In cyberspace] You can literally do almost anything you want, and there is not a price to pay for it.”
Non-governmental cyber experts appear to agree with Michael Rogers and noted that United Sates Cyber Command has the ability to “hack into and damage” the power grid and other critical infrastructure. Some of the experts feel such a capability serves as a mutual deterrence to China and other nations who would attack the U.S. power grid. The natural deterrence argument has some merit, but if the cyberhackers take out the power grid with a few strokes of a keyboard, it may be too late for America to launch a retaliatory attack.
NSA Director Roger’s comments about China taking out the U.S. power grid were given in response to questions by Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers. The Michigan Republican asked the director about a private report which detailed “intrusions” into the power grid and other critical pieces of infrastructure by China. When the NSA director was asked what countries, in addition to China, were being monitored as for cyber hacking threats to the power grid, he said, “We’re watching multiple nation states invest in this capability.”
Michael Rogers added, “We need to define what would be offensive, what’s an act of war.” President Barack Obama wants to create a “set of international principles” governing cyber operations, citing banning cyberattacks on hospitals as an example.
Do you think a set of rules by President Obama would stop China from launching a cyberattack on the power grid? Are you prepared to survive a downed power grid where gasoline would quickly disappear, and food and medication would no longer be transported?
[Image via Katrina Destruction]