Cyber attack EMP event/attack discussion Not Political

Poppy

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Friday May 7, 2021
A U.S. oil pipeline company just got shut down from a cyberattack.
A U.S. oil pipeline company just got shut down from a cyberattack. The pipeline shut down brings oil to 50 million people on the east coast. Make sure you guys have fuel for those generators. If some of those east coast power plants use the same fuel piped in, we may eventually have blackouts if supply runs low and they don't stop the cyberattack. Take this as a warning to be prepared. Cyberattacks are going after critical infrastructure now. It's a good time to update your preps and make sure you're good in all areas. We never know what will happen next.

It was reported that Colonial Pipe line supplies 45% of all refined petroleum to the East Coast from Texas to including New Jersey, and it was shut down. Living on the East coast, and remembering the 3 hours gas lines from Super Storm Sandy, I alerted family and close friends, of possible impending fuel shortages.

Hopefully this particular attack is quickly resolved, and it is just a further warning of potential threats that will be worked on to defend against.
 
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Burgess

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

W_O_W ! ! !

Thank you for the info.

I hadn't heard of this . . . .


lovecpf
 

Lynx_Arc

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

I think for the most part EMP attacks are pretty much not an issue as likely anyone attacking us using such a weapon would not likely be zealous terrorists as they would rather blow up people causing death and damage while EMP just destroys electronics and likely military targets are already somewhat protected from them. In other words to be hit by an EMP you likely would be a target of a nuke and if you are in the range of a bomb like that not having the use of electronics would be less of and issue vs death and potential death from fallout.
Unless we have WWIII or something on that scale likely only one bomb site would have an EMP attack and the rest of the nation would be unharmed by it and thus in a short time in areas deemed safe help would be flooding massively in from across the country. If you were far enough outside the blast range to not be physically hurt by the initial explosion (not the radiation) then you may need new electronic stuff.

As for utilities and energy sources being cyber attacked, expect it to happen more and more as time progresses as sadly more and more things are dependent on the internet for data transmission leading to a lot more easily hacking by people anywhere in the world. The internet is good but some things should never be connected to it.... ever and sadly stupid people in charge of major corporations are doing just that.
 

Katherine Alicia

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

EMP gens needn`t be very big at all or cause an explosion much more than a grenade (if any), a simple flux compression generator can do a lot of local damage and fit in a breifcase, this isn`t Sci-Fi either, the tech exists now.
 

Sos24

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

I know the EMP attack would cause more destruction especially due to the impact on all electronics and long term effects, but this attack just proves, to me, the cyber attacks are a very “real” threat.

Just some quick online searches will produce articles on tons of cyber probing events into various government, military and commercial systems. These are targeted attacks to test weakness and gain information. Consolidate the information gained from the various probes and a destructive cyber attack could be launched.

Now, consider that the same electronic controllers and software are used for numerous utilities (gas, water, electrical) throughout the country. If I remember correctly, a couple years ago there were explosions in houses in Massachusetts because of an electrical issue with a gas company control system.

What happens if there were a coordinated cyber attack on electronic control systems for gas, electric and water in various areas.
 

markr6

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

It's funny (actually not at all) when these things happen, to see how in-depth the news coverage goes. Detailed workings, what-if's, vulnerabilities, interviews with experts, etc.

Terrorists must be watching, thinking "oh yeah? hey, why didn't I think of that!"
 

idleprocess

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

One issue with the drumbeat of security issues with utilities and industrial sites revolve around SCADA systems, which in spite of best practices tend to be exposed to the internet when they're either explicitly designed not to be or have poor security due to the complexities of key management. Toss in a huge slice of the hardware being in use well past its sell by date and these issues will continue to pop up for many years to come.

My father works for a company that's guilty of this. The PLCs in numerous facilities are decades old now, predating the concept of an online manufacturing facility. It takes a number of clever hacks to get them to respond to external commands - be they queries or process control - which by design originate from hardwired local controls. Said local controls have been extended after the fact to interface with computer workstations - all of which are also internet-connected and thus all potential points of entry to the plant's backbone of PLCs. Instead of implementing hardened read-only reporting servers recording all data the PLC can report that analysts can query for whatever they think is interesting, the business has chosen to implement a simpler and cheaper gateways at each site that interface directly with the PLCs - meaning a possibly exciting life if anyone learns enough about it to poke it from the outside.

[...]

In 1989 One notorious G. Gordon Liddy penned a fictional memo to the president accounting how a small group of ~200 determined individuals executed a multi-pronged plan that crippled the US economy with tools and weapons far less sophisticated than those in most espionage thrillers. Some 30 years on it's still eerily plausible - the big quantum plot devices were pressure-detonated mines, explosively-pumped flux compression generators, and a suddenly-again-familiar specter - plastic guns. I'll leave sourcing this piece as an exercise for the reader since it grinds a number of axes and demolishes a number of strawmen in service of a self-flattering narrative - a pitfall that almost every author of disaster porn cannot seem to help leaping into.
 

broadgage

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

I am not aware of any credible evidence that the pipeline attack was an EMP attack. Such an attack would be indiscriminate and the surroundings would be full of completely unrelated and now non functional electronics.
Streets blocked with non functional vehicles-not reported*
No cellphone service-not reported*
Dead PCs-not reported*

The incident would appear to be a conventional computer hacking attack, done for financial or other gain.
It is indeed worrying that such an important facility was vulnerable.

*by this I mean not reported in any exceptional numbers. Motor vehicles, cellphones and infrastructure, and PCs fail all the time, but there are NO credible reports of any exceptional numbers of such failures.
 

idleprocess

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

I am not aware of any credible evidence that the pipeline attack was an EMP attack.
Nor am I, nor is anyone speaking to this with regards to present events but rather as a hypothetical possibility in the future.
 

jabe1

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

If these corporations looked farther ahead than the next quarterly profit numbers, maybe they would invest in their hardware and personnel so this wouldn’t happen so easily.
 

scout24

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

"One Second After" by William Forstchen is a great read (fiction) on EMP if you don't want to sleep well for a while.
 

bykfixer

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

The pipeline is pretty big. It stores a lot of gasoline in the trunk line itself. It feeds tank farms at several locations. Now if people stay cool they'll never see any interuptions. But if it turns into another toilet paper/red baron frozen pizza scare……
Well we shall see I suppose.

I worked in a town with a tank farm. It was 50-6 million gallon gasoline tanks. An ice storm such off power in a 300 mile radius so until the pumps were up and running again there was a huge line of gasoline tanker trucks waiting. Up to that point I did not know that Exxon, Shell, Texaco, Sheetz etc trucks all carried fuel to their filling stations from the same supply tank.

On the other side of the town was 2 big tanks. I asked a local what they are, diesel? He said "nah, those are missile silos in case the Russians push the button" like it was no big thing.
 
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PhotonWrangler

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

It's highly probable that someone in the pipeline company's network fell for a phishing link. A portion of an organization's attack surface is comprised of humans who haven't been adequately trained on what they shouldn't click on.

And on the EMP angle, an attack of this type can take out routers, switches and other electronics but it won't methodically encrypt or delete hard drive data. Routers and switches can be replaced with minimal data loss but you can't say the same for hard drives. And along these lines, SSDs are much more vulnerable to EMPs than electromechanical drives - at least the physical discs themselves. If backups aren't available, a hard disc whose controller has been blown by an EMP can still have it's platters transferred to another unit and it's data recovered. Not easy or cheap but possible.

It's far easier for a threat actor to go after the network though, especially since it can be done from another part of the world, and with very little investment in hardware.
 

Hooked on Fenix

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

The FBI has named a hacker group Darkside as the culprits behind the pipeline hack. Virginia is reporting that 5% of gas stations are empty and rising. North Carolina declared a state of emergency over the pipeline outage. The President issued an emergency declaration in Washington, D.C. and 17 states. Line 4 of the pipeline which runs from Greensboro, North Carolina to Woodbine, Maryland is temporarily operating under manual control. Some of the fuel is now getting trucked in to limit the effects of the outage. Time to gas up those vehicles while you can and fill up those spare gas cans. They found out the group responsible, but that doesn't mean they have any names of individuals they can arrest or any way to stop the hack just yet. The company is hoping to be back in business by the end of the week, but we'll see. Now that hackers know they can get into these types of systems, these types of hacks are more likely in the future, especially if someone can get away with it without getting caught and get paid the ransom.
 
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WarriorOfLight

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

The question is more why a pipeline control has a connection to the internet.

It is the same thing like it is for waterworks, power plants, ... In general essential infrastructure should not be connected to the internet at all, since there is no way to keep systems connected to the internet safe. That is a fact. Each existing operating system has bugs in the code that makes the system weak for hackers...
 

Poppy

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Re: Cyber attack EMP Event/attack discussion Not Political

Hooked on fenix,
Thanks for the update on the Colonial pipeline.

I vaguely recall reading a couple of years ago that a small dam in a neighboring community was taken off line. I don't recall the threat, but it was going to be operated manually.

I'm glad to see that at least some, if not all of the Colonial pipe is capable of being operated manually.

BTW, I changed the title to include EMP EVENT to include preparation for Solar Flares in the discussion.
 

Katherine Alicia

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

it`s just mankinds latest fad, the same thing happened when electricity became readily available you could buy all sorts of "snake oil" gadgets that could perform miricles, it also happened with Radium for a while! (my grandmother used to drink Radium water). It`s not a new phenomenon, the idiocy of humanity knows few bounds.
We have Chips in Everything now (even pregnancy tests! LOL), and now it`s all about `The Internet of things` and connecting all the crap together (and then becoming reliant on it :huh:) it`s all just a slow motion trainwreck really.
But as long as they can make (or save) a few dollars and have some poor sap to take the blame so they can make a quick getaway, it will continue.
 

orbital

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

+

Go back a couple months,
how do you make the Keystone Pipeline look essential for national security energy & oil reserves.

________________
 

parametrek

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

This is part of why I keep saying that the transition to renewables is vital to national security. It distributes the production and storage of energy across the entire country. There won't be the equivalent of a massive pipeline or refinery or or ports or tankers to target. Instead a whole bunch of smaller solar/wind/battery facilities. The grid interconnects would be the only large targets but they are optional and the grid can function (less efficiently) without them if they go down.

Of course being heavily distributed does mean that there are many more opportunities for trouble. But since everything is smaller it is also much easier to work around any problems. If a town's massive battery gets hacked and taken offline then there are still options. Use the grid exactly the same as we do now for example.

It would also be possible to simply roll in trailers of batteries (normally used for big concerts or whatever) into town for a few days while fixing the the local grid. Though this is only just barely possible right now. A tractor trailer full of present day batteries could carry 4MWh of batteries. That 1 truck could power 130 homes for 24 hours. So we'd need a lot of trucks.
 

Lynx_Arc

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Re: Cyber attack EMP attack discussion Not Political

I think one issue with a pipeline going down is that tanker truck drivers are in huge demand because during the Covid shutdowns a lot of them had no work due to very low fuel usage and they shifted to either other types of truck driving or other careers. With a shortage of tanker truck drivers a downed pipeline can be an issue. I think that some of the keystone pipeline is supported by tanker trucks now because it was stopped from being completed.
 

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