Carnegie Mellon University
March 06, 2018

Pileggi comments on vulnerability of US power grid

Cybersecurity researchers are concerned that the country’s power grid could be threatened by microprocessor vulnerabilities like Meltdown and Spectre, two chip flaws that let attackers capture sensitive information (like passwords) stored in the memory of other programs. These vulnerabilities can affect desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and any other mobile device associated with both consumers and businesses alike. But many researchers are mostly concerned for the country’s infrastructure. According to Larry Pileggi in an article for Choose Energy, hackers can most certainly use these vulnerabilities to attack the grid. “Any computing system or ‘chip’ that is part of a computing system can be hacked, which could be used to cause the grid to collapse,” says Pileggi. “This can be done, for example, by causing a power generation plant to ‘see’ data that is not real, thereby changing the power that is generated and creating a situation where the grid cannot properly operate.” To protect the power grid, Pileggi says we need “better modeling and design of a grid that provides resilience to failure.” Read the article.