Quick Take: A few years back, a friend of mine served on a Department of Homeland Security committee on infrastructure protection. They heard lots about cyber threats. But the thing that worried them the most was the “Seven Bullets Theory.” That’s the idea that a terrorist group could shut down the entire East Coast grid with just seven well-placed bullets at seven different substations.
A miniature version of this scenario took place earlier this week in Silicon Valley. It prompts me to remind utilities not to let the current emphasis on cybersecurity cause them to overlook the very real and important issues around physical security. – Jesse Berst Keep reading →
Six months ago two Louisiana sheriffs were shot to death and two more injured in the parking lot of a Valero oil refinery. Six years ago Saudi police halted a pair of armed terrorist attacks on the world’s largest refinery, in one case opening fire on a car that exploded near the facility’s gates.
Guns are more than a theoretical issue for the energy business, which controls much of the world’s most vital – and most vulnerable infrastructure. As the US contends with a public debate given new urgency by a series of high-profile shootings, the issue of security and gun control in and around key energy infrastructure is once again front of mind for many of the bodies charged with monitoring energy security and devising responses to potential threats. Keep reading →
Oil is a global commodity–it is easy and cheap to ship it around the world. That means that the security of its distribution network is just as important as the security of its supply. This distribution network–including port terminals, huge oil supertankers, and lengthy pipelines–is vast and costly. It is also vulnerable to conflict, piracy and terrorism.
About one fifth of America’s oil imports come from the Persian Gulf, passing through the Strait of Hormuz as it is shipped to our shores. Over 15 million barrels of oil per day pass through the Strait, a 21 mile-wide body of water vulnerable to Iranian anti-ship missiles. Iran has repeated its threats to close the Strait and is well positioned to carry out attacks on oil tankers in transit. The very threat of closing the Strait of Hormuz to shipping is enough to give the Iranian regime more leverage in the region than they are due. Keep reading →
Hundreds of thousands of people in darkness, hospitals in chaos, a banking system under siege – a cyberattack on the US electricity grid could have catastrophic consequences.
When federal researchers discovered that outside hackers could take control of the generators used to produce electricity in the US and destroy them, analysts warned that a co-ordinated assault on the grid could blackout large regions and cause devastation akin to scores of hurricanes striking at once. Keep reading →