Sunday, November 10, 2013

Gridex II Drill Coming This Week

Two years ago, an obscure, private organization, North American Electric Reliability Corporation ("NERC"), conducted a drill with a number of Midwest electrical utility companies practicing a scenario involving a cyber attack that resulted in malware making its way onto the computer system that maintains the electrical grid system, causing some power disruptions. Midwest ISO, which is based in Carmel, participated in the exercise. The drill was carried out without much fanfare. You can read the after action report here.

A second national drill is scheduled this week for November 13-14, which has been dubbed Gridex II. Several factors seem to be driving a lot more attention to this drill. This past summer, former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, while speaking at a conference, sounded an alarm that a cyber 911-like attack on the nation's electrical grid system was imminent. National Grid in Waltham Massachusetts, which is Midwest ISO's counterpart in the northeast part of the United States, and which also participated in the drill two years ago, has confirmed that it is participating in Gridex II this week. DHS and FEMA are also participating in the drill. A spokesperson for National Grid said the participants did not yet know what scenario would play out during the drill; however, NERC officials have assured the media there would be no power outages during the drill.

NASA has contributed to the concerns some have that something big might happen. Every 22 years our solar system's sun goes through a solar maximum period during which solar flaring is typically at a peak. Solar flares can impact the Earth's atmosphere with electromagnetic shocks that can damage satellites orbiting the Earth, as well as electrical grids that supply electricity to us and electrical-powered appliances and equipment. NASA scientists have warned that some areas could be without power for a number of months, which obviously would produce catastrophic outcomes in affected areas. So far, the solar maximum has turned out to be a big dud, the weakest in nearly a century, that some fear might portend the coming of another ice age. Yeah, I hate to disappoint the global warming alarmists, but CO2 emissions have virtually no impact on the Earth's weather; rather, it's driven by forces from within and outside our solar system that impacts the Earth daily. Solar flaring from the Sun is a major factor in weather events on Earth, as well as earthquakes and volcano activity.

In addition, NASA had also dubbed the approaching Comet Ison as the comet of the century. Ison has turned out to be a less exciting event in our solar system than NASA scientists originally projected, although it has brightened considerably in recent days according to astronomers, and it's expected to make its closest pass by Earth later this month. Comets which impact the Sun directly can cause major coronal mass ejections that can impact Earth. Ison is considered a sun grazer because its path takes it very close to the Sun.

Gridex II probably won't amount to much, but since people learned that our government was conducting a computer-simulated drill testing our air defense system at the very moment that the 9/11 attacks occurred, which caused great confusion to air traffic controllers, people have grown weary of these so-called drills. Similarly, British officials were conducting an identical mass casualty drill involving the explosion of bombs in London's subway system when actual terrorist attacks in the subway system took place using bombs at the very locations where the drill was being conducted. Officials at LAX Airport confirmed that they had staged the exact same scenario only three weeks earlier when nine days ago we were told that a lone gunman walked into a terminal with an automatic weapon and opened fire on TSA agents, killing one and injuring several others. Public weariness of these drills is to be expected in light of past events and continuous warnings of imminent catastrophic events coming from officials of our own government.

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