Cascade-based attack vulnerability on the US power grid
A paper by Chinese researchers envisioning a cyberattack on the U.S. power grid has ignited concerns in the United States. The researchers outlined an assault on a small U.S. power grid sub-network that triggers a cascading failure of the entire electrical infrastructure.
The paper's co-author, Chinese graduate engineering student Wang Jianwei, says the research is purely theoretical, and that its intent is to find ways to augment power grids' stability by investigating potential vulnerabilities. Although some analysts see the paper as a sign that China has an interest in interfering with the U.S. power grid, University of Pennsylvania physicist Reka Albert disagrees. "Neither the authors of this article, nor any other prior article, has had information on the identity of the power grid components represented as nodes of the network," Albert says.
"Thus no practical scenarios of an attack on the real power grid can be derived from such work." Wang says he chose the United States as a potential target because it publishes data on power grids, and it was the only country he could find with accessible, useful information.
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