Woolsey: Grid an Easy Target for Unsophisticated Hackers


CIA Director-turned-venture-capitalist Jim Woolsey (who is advising John McCain on energy issues) says that our power grid is so vulnerable to cyber-hacking that 10- or 11-year-old hackers could get through. In an interview on the Blog Talk Radio Show, Woolsey said:

“The systems that operate now to protect the grid from hacking probably do a reasonable job against 8-year old hackers, but once you get to be the 10- or 11-year old hackers they’re in there like Flynn. The grid’s cyber protections are awful.”

It’s a theme that Woolsey has addressed before — back in June, he asked a panel of energy experts at the Google/Brookings plug-in electric vehicle conference what was being done to secure the grid. His question was in response to an article in the National Journal, which alleged that Chinese paramilitary hackers were responsible for two massive U.S. blackouts.

Silver Spring Networks CTO Raj Vaswani previously explained to us that securing the grid is different from securing Internet services and that the “threat model is extremely complex because you’ve got devices sitting out in the field potentially for years with no physical security.” Woolsey also mirrored that sentiment in the Blog Radio show and said that hardware like transformers are open to physical attack.

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