Tuesday, May 22, 2007

SCADA: "Data Storm "Shuts Down Browns Ferry (AL) Nuclear Plant

As one commenter so aptly stated recently, (paraphrased) unlike the majority of humanity, submariners must run toward danger as quickly as possible. While it is in human nature to scatter in the face of danger, submariners understand better than most that everything (mission success, preservation of the platform and of course, crew lives), depends upon quite the reverse. (see actual quote in note below)

Have terrorists or hackers uncovered a major flaw in our nations nuclear power plants? If verifed publicly, Browns Ferry would become the first solid case of direct external manipulation of a critical infrastructure control system. In other words, either hackers or terrorists caused a critical system to be overloaded, shutting down the reactor. This soundalike, called SCADA, is in the realm of digital data supervision (computers and programmed logic controllers).

The term refers to a large-scale, distributed instrument control system. One potential flaw is the mistaken belief that SCADA networks are disconnected from the Internet and are therefore secure.

Hardware for SCADA systems is ruggedized to withstand temperature, vibration, and voltage excursions, and reliability is further enhanced by redundant hardware and communications channels. The calculated mean time before system failure of such high reliability systems is commonly measured in centuries, not years. story linked here.

The incident happened in August of 2006 at Unit 3. Has our mainstream, U.S. press been AWOL? Here is more (Published Monday 21st May 2007 09:15 GMT) from our neighbors in the U.K.

It seems that The US House of Representative's Committee on Homeland Security called this week for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to further investigate the cause of excessive network traffic that shut down an Alabama nuclear plant. link

If you are like me, you probably believe Alabama is part of the U.S., not the U.K. Someone is in deep do-do. Who do you think the event will be blamed upon (hint: Charlie is usually correct) with the proviso that the public blame may not reflect the true cause?

1. A teenage hacker
2. Al Qaeda cell
3. A contractor <<<<< correct (most likely default of Homeland Security bureaucrats)
4. Design Engineers
5. Mechanical fluke

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Note
At 27 April, 2007 16:30, SonarMan said...
I've heard these rumors myself. On submarines, when the shit hits the fan, there's only one way to run... Right into it. Nobody with a living brain cell can ever, ever call a submarine sailor a coward just because he's not dodging bullets somewhere. I call anyone out who thinks so.

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