Report Cites Vulnerable National Power Grid

The nation's electrical power grid has been assessed as a weak link in homeland security due to its vulnerability to terrorist attacks, according to a recent report commissioned by the U.S. Congress.

07/22/2002


The nation's electrical power grid has been assessed as a weak link in homeland security due to its vulnerability to terrorist attacks, according to a recent report commissioned by the U.S. Congress.

The report, which also classifies the nationwide telecommunications and computing infrastructure as vulnerable, was created by the National Research Council, a part of the National Academy of Sciences.

Richard Klausner, who chaired the committee that produced the report, told USA Today that destroying key components of a power grid could result in a devastating domino effect of power outages across the country, adversely affecting public health systems, food supplies, water and fuel. Particularly vulnerable are extra-high-voltage transformers, as these units are generally limited in supply and thus can take months or even years to replace. Power grid control systems are also worrisome in that they could be attacked by computer hackers. As a result, the committee suggests building barriers around certain components of a power grid and using computer security methods to keep cyber-terrorists from remotely entering power-system computers.

To read this and other reports on terrorism from the National Academy of Sciences, go to: www.nap.edu/terror .





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