Indiana News

Purdue Experts Part Of Electric Grid Cyberattack Drill

Trying to determine what happens if part or all of the grid shuts down


We are in the midst of finding out what might happen if a cyberattack took out part or all of the nation's electric grid.


A two day drill today and tomorrow called GridEx2 involves thousands of federal government employees and utility workers, along with several computer and cyberterror experts from Purdue University. "What they are looking at are whether certain scenarios are plausible, and then they are looking at what the impact would be if those attacks were actually executed," said Marcus Rogers, director of Purdue's Cyberforensics Lab.

Rogers says the drill will recreate everything from a partial shutdown of electricity across North America to a virtual blackout affecting all of the U-S, Canada, and Mexico. "They will look at how vulnerable (the grid is) or what the weaknesses are, how would these things be identified; could they be identified in time; once they were identified and once there were bad things happening to the grid, how would the grid recover, and how long it would take to recover," said Rogers.

Rogers says it has long been possible for people to attack the electric grid electronically. "There's already been documented minor attacks against the grid," said Rogers, "where it's been more, we believe, one-off individuals that have gone and have been poking and looking at things."

A Purdue faculty member is at the monitoring station looking at real-time data from the drill. Also, Purdue professors have trained many of the emergency management workers who are part of the drill, and Purdue students are helping to collect data, too.



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