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2003-04 Seminars


Cyberspace Influence on the Aug 14 blackout

Tom Longstaff
Software Engineering Institute

Abstract

Of the many indicators, causes, and participating factors that existed in the US and Canadian electric infrastructures, one of the most neglected is the role Cyberspace plays in the proper operation of the power grid. Many "root causes" have been blamed for the Aug 14 NE blackout, but the true point of no return for this event appears to have been caused by a software fault in the EMS system for one particular company. Although there is no evidence in this case of an external cause for this fault, study of the fault can illustrate how vulnerable the grid is to Cyberspace manipulation. This presentation and discussion will focus on the interaction of the electricity and cyberspace infrastructures.