This week hackers from Russia shut down a pipeline that traversed from Texas to New Jersey. This pipeline supplied 2.5 million gallons of oil per day to the eastern seaboard of the US! The hackers insisted a ransom be paid giving the company back their control of this rather important pipeline. Now let's think about this, a computer savvy group of whoever using a computer and the internet was able to navigate around firewalls, passwords and other security boundaries and shut down a vital component of our energy infrastructure...
I am afraid to say, our country is at risk! The list of those looking to destroy our way of life and security is quite extensive. For us here in the U.S., this is not a political party issue it is a national security issue. We need to get ahead of this and create an impenetrable means of keeping us safe. I have been squawking about the quality and lack of security concerning our electrical power grid for some time now A power grid that supplies electricity affecting every aspect of our lives. Whatever your political identity maybe, we all agree electricity lights up our life. We all enjoy and take for granted the ability to always have power at our fingertips. For any of us who have experienced the Sandy flood or the most recent Texas power outage this winter, life can be extremely altered without electrical power. Consider this, your loved one is in the hospital and wheeled into the OR, maybe you're on a train after work heading home to your wife and children, and your Mom is visiting her sister in an elevator heading to the 23rd floor, all of a sudden the power goes out! We pray the generator starts in the hospital, the fire department evacuates you from the train and your Mom is rescued from the elevator. These are real scenarios when the power goes out. Do you really believe hackers can't get to our national power grid?
We are currently relying far too much on foreign entities to provide replacement parts for our power grid. I soke of this concern in a previous blog. Would it be too naive to think that the components in a power generation plant can't be hacked or taken down? Think about that for one moment, how would your life be impacted???? Recently, a national listing agency responsible for testing and approving all material required for safe installations invited me to participate on a national standards panel for "Power Monitoring Equipment". Like many other panels I have worked on, I checked the roster list for who would be participating. One contributor seemed quite alarming, the gentleman was located in China and worked for a Chinese manufacturing firm! So, I would be providing industry knowledge pertinent to power monitoring to a company located in China? I could not believe this and I chose to decline this invitation from this national standards organization and I question their objectives!
Why Are We Asleep at The Switch?
The federal government has set up a Homeland Security Division to address cyber terrorism. Cyber terrorism is a real and present danger facing all of us here in the US. Clearly our enemies are relentlessly looking for the weakness in all our infrastructures. Previous to this most recent hack, I thought we were in good shape to fend off these attacks, boy was I mistaken! The private sector companies generate our electricity, deliver our gas and oil, provide our internet services and the list goes on and on. I pray these companies begin to step up their game to fend off these cyber attacks and not wait for any assistance from the Feds. Speaking of the Feds, the president has mandated we move to a "green" economy eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels. Let's look at this a bit more, the electric car industry manufacturing these electric cars use a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Quess who is the number one manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries? You got it, China who continues to have larger GDP right now than the U.S. So, our dependence on China again bolsters their economy with our "green" mandate! Let's increase our GDP and utilize the "green" mandate to grow our manufacturing here in this country!
Why Are We Asleep at The Switch?
I don't know about you but a lot of these decisions being made today is like the guy I spoke of earlier, the guy in the movie. Decisions that clearly don't see the long term effects of dependence on others who clearly don’t have our best interests at heart. The greatest and most revered aspect of freedom is Free Enterprise. A system of ownership where profits are made by a person creating a reliable product or service for a good price to the consumer. This revered principle encourages better creation, better manufacturing and better quality. We need to encourage and support manufacturing in our country Our dependence on foreign and potentially dangerous enemies diametrically opposed to our way of life needs to stop. We need to manufacture and provide all the components for a "green" economy. We need to manufacturer and provide the required components for our power grid. We need to let the American free enterprise system do what it does best, dream, create and distribute allowing us be independent and free. This mindset will catapult us to where our companies, our workers and our people flourish.
We Control The Switch and We Are The Hero!
- Kevin J. Breen