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Network soft power and military hard destruction become significant

As we all know, electricity is the foundation on which modern society depends. Its security and stability are related to national security, social stability and economic development. To improve the defense capabilities of the power system, you must first understand the possible means of attack. The Global Times interviewed a number of relevant experts on the 14th.

Threats of internet are becoming increasingly apparent
Venezuelan President Maduro declared that the country’s power system was attacked by large-scale cyber attacks. “High-tech cyber attacks against Venezuela have been launched, and only the United States has the technology needed to launch such attacks.”

With the widespread use of information and Internet technologies in power systems, network viruses and cyber attacks pose risks to power system security. At present, network attacks against the power grid can be roughly divided into three categories: component mode, protocol mode, and topology mode.


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According to reports, compared with other infrastructure facilities, the characteristics of the power system networking makes it extremely easy to be "shouldered and moved". For example, the sudden increase in power demand of a certain power grid may cause the line load to the area to be overloaded and collapse, and even drag and drop most of the generators in the power grid to go offline, which is mostly concentrated by network attacking the power grid.

The so-called component approach mainly attacks a specific part of the grid information technology infrastructure, destroys the grid equipment by misleading data to the operator, or cuts off the grid equipment in a specific area. Protocol-based attacks mainly target the grid information protocol of power automation equipment, and control communication between grid nodes, resulting in excessive economic output and economic and safety losses, and even equipment damage caused by power overload. The topological attack, on the basis of the characteristics of the power system networking, initiates a chain attack on one or more targets, which in turn causes a power supply chain failure.

What is particularly worrying is that with the advent of the Internet of Things era, more and more high-power household appliances such as microwave ovens, electric ovens, and air conditioners are connected to the Internet of Things. If hackers attack through the network, they can be started at the same time. Electrical appliances, the sudden surge in power demand is enough to have a serious impact on the normal operation of the grid.

Experts said that the degree of damage and damage caused by network intrusions initiated by different organizations and different ways to the power system is different, and the difficulty of returning to normal is not limited. From late December 2015 to mid-January 2016, eight power companies in Ukraine were attacked by cyber attacks, resulting in a large-scale power outage in the western part of Wu'an. The production and life of 1.4 million people were greatly affected. This is a physical space from cyberspace. Destructive attacks implemented are advanced persistent cyber threat attacks. This large-scale power outage in Venezuela reproduces this scene to some extent.


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Mature physical power technology
The Venezuelan National Power Company reported that it had found signs of “human destruction” at the Guri Hydropower Station, which accounts for about 60% of the country’s electricity supply. Since the realization of electrification in human society, the destruction of power supply through physical means has become an important target of military strikes. Since World War II, the blow to power facilities has not only been a key target for undermining the opponent's war potential, but also an important means of forcing the enemy to yield.

The most direct way to power off is the hard destruction of physical destruction. The more countries with concentrated power hubs, the worse the resistance to damage. In Germany, 1.4% of the power plants in World War II accounted for 51% of the country's total power generation. The Allied forces carried out a strategic bombing of these power plants, causing German industry to be paralyzed and soon defeated. In Japan, where the power plant is smaller, the opposite is true. Seventy-five percent of the electricity generated is supplied by a large number of scattered small power plants, virtually evading the risk of “all eggs in the same basket”. At that time, the Allied "strategic bombing investigation" report admitted that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to completely destroy Japan's electricity supply.

Indirect power outages have also appeared in the 1999 Kosovo War. Through 78 days of bombing, NATO destroyed more than 80% of the energy and oil targets of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and also used graphite fiber bombs that specifically damaged the power grid. As a result, the Yugoslavia’s large-scale power outage directly affected the progress and ending of the Kosovo war. This kind of soft-killing power-off method is not as hard as hard destruction against the enemy's resistance.

Grid security, the United States is ahead
The countries of the world attach great importance to maintaining the safety of the power system, and have adopted legislative protection, technical prevention, and risk diversification to improve the anti-damage capability of the domestic power grid. Especially in the United States, it is the earliest in the field of power grid security, and is ahead of the world.


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Wang Fangfang, a professor at the National Defense University, said that the safe power generation and transmission capacity of the power grid must be an important part of the country's strategic capabilities. The usual construction should focus on wartime protection and plan ahead. Not only the layout size and location of the power plant need to be carefully evaluated, but also the power plants and lines of important power plants must have certain protection capabilities. The important transmission lines can be changed to hidden mode and buried underground to hide. Generators should be installed as backups in important places, factories and hospitals. These are all necessary measures to enhance the physical protection of the power system.

According to a survey by US information security company Symantec, hackers have penetrated the power infrastructure of many Western countries, "capable of destroying the entire national grid," and mentioned a series of hacking attacks on US power companies. To this end, the US Department of Energy has invested heavily in research and development of tools and technologies to improve the network security of national energy, oil, gas and other energy transmission control systems. The United States also organizes six national laboratories to develop technologies for the application of next-generation grid monitoring systems, vulnerability verification, risk analysis, and information sharing among relevant personnel.

In order to prevent hackers from attacking the power system, the United States not only arranges network forces to protect the nuclear power plant information system, but also trains "cyber warriors" to improve the ability to protect the power grid from attacks. In recent years, the US Department of Homeland Security has also organized “Network Storm” exercises to exercise the ability of the US government, power companies, and the private sector to jointly address cyber threats and ensure grid security.