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    How Smart Devices Could Take Out Power Grid: Hack “Air Conditioners Turn On/Off Repeatedly”

    Mac Slavo
    February 10th, 2016
    SHTFplan.com
    Comments (64)
    Read by 5,985 people

    power-grid-attack

    “You shouldn’t be able to do this.” But you can. It may be one of the most dangerous flaws in technology to date.

    It seems that the smart devices in store for the future under a smart grid pose some pretty serious security flaws – and could pose a risk to your life.

    A number of hackers have pointed out how unencrypted, remote thermostat devices could be manipulated to attack a single home/business, an entire neighborhood, or even the entire country.

    Worse, the industry is pumping out hundreds of new connected smart appliances that could leave security vulnerabilities in the homes of every American.

    According to Wired Magazine:

    A hacker could cut air conditioners during a heatwave—creating a potentially fatal condition for the elderly and sick—or turn air conditioners on during peak energy periods, causing a surge that creates a widespread blackout. Or a hacker could directly attack a group of specific homes or offices by taking advantage of the fact that unique IDs are assigned to groups of devices, allowing them to be singled out.

    According to another researcher, the hack could be even worse. If an attacker were to turn the air conditioners on and off repeatedly, the could create disturbances and imbalances in the grid that could trip breakers beyond the neighborhood they’re targeting and cause an even more widespread blackout.

    “This is bad, and that’s why we need better security so that we don’t have the ability to manipulate the load,” says Eric Johansson, founder of Management Doctors, a security firm in Sweden that specializes in SCADA. “You shouldn’t be able to do this.”

    The attack against the devices requires little skill. All a hacker would need is to be on the same radio frequency as the utility company, and then they could monitor and record the commands the company sends to the devices (a technique known as sniffing). From there, they could just play back those recorded commands to other devices to get them to turn on or off (a so-called “replay” attack).

    And there are many other issues with the technology, as experts who talked to Wired note.

    Hackers brought up the issue to urge the need for encryption and protection with relatively-open “smart” devices that have been increasingly phased into home appliance use.

    Many homes have now given their power company permission to adjust their thermostat remotely, while others have implemented consumer devices to control the temperature remotely while members of the household are at work or away from home.

    But at the heart of the issue is the open door for saboteurs that could bring society to its knees.

    On top of the threat of an EMP attack, harsh weather and terrorism, the manipulation of air conditioners and other smart appliances pose a viable risk to devastating grid down scenario.

    In the worst case, a prolonged, widespread power outage – that includes damage to generators and relay stations system wide – could leave hundreds of millions without power and on the verge of life and death – as desperate people in cities would almost certainly riot, loot and kill each other for remaining resources, while others could die from exposure to extreme cold or heat without power and utilities.

    Experts have predicted that 90% of the population would die if the grid went down and took 6 months or longer to restore.

    As it stands, most sprawling urban areas are mere days away from chaos at any given point – once people get hungry and upset.

    Now they know they need to fix it, but will they?

    For now, the threat is mostly hypothetical, though a cyber attack has been considered a threat for years now. But it is yet another reason to prepare for all eventualities, especially surviving comfortably without electricity for prolonged periods of time.

    Such a scenario will bring enormous pressure to bear on the rest of society – but that doesn’t have to include you.

    Read more:

    Worst Mistakes To Avoid When Going Off Grid: “We Wish We’d Known”

    Massive Cyber Attack May Be Under Way… Warning

    EMP Threat: ‘Within One Year 9 Out of 10 Americans Would Be Dead’

    Secret Homeland Report Warns Solar Storm Could Leave 100 Million Without Power: “We Are Running Out of Time to Prepare”

    Elite Contingency Plans for Black Outs: “We’ll Have Minutes to Respond; Government Plans Controlled Blackouts”

    GridExIII Drill Coincides with American Terror Threat: “ISIS Cells Could Attack Our Power Grid”

    Click here to subscribe: Join over one million monthly readers and receive breaking news, strategies, ideas and commentary.
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    Please Spread The Word And Share This Post

    Author: Mac Slavo
    Views: Read by 5,985 people
    Date: February 10th, 2016
    Website: www.SHTFplan.com

    Copyright Information: Copyright SHTFplan and Mac Slavo. This content may be freely reproduced in full or in part in digital form with full attribution to the author and a link to www.shtfplan.com. Please contact us for permission to reproduce this content in other media formats.

    64 Comments...

    Vote: Click here to vote for SHTF Plan as a Top Prepper Web Site
    1. Hiram says:

      Unintended consequences?

    2. eppe says:

      Hope it does not happen, I kinda like electricity…

      • Captain Crunch says:

        Yep me too

        My second home is for sale right now. I need shít to hold together for a month or so longer at least so it sells and I can put a couple hundred thousand into a farm and more preps.

        • hammerhead says:

          Wanna buy a farm ? hahaha

          Grid wont go down , because then they lose control of you and your money .
          Grid up keeps everyone asleep and fat and compliant .

        • This is what I do for a living. It is not at all as easy as this article says. The writer needs to be fired.
          First of all everything sent over the air for either commercial or industrial use is encrypted. You just get a bunch of gobbledygook from a sniffer.
          2nd you cant just send a command. You need to establish a link and that takes some back and forth communication for every command. If you are not part of the devices trusted network, it wont even parse your datagram.
          This is a very complicated field and there not a lot of people who fully understand it either.

          If you could hack the network, you would need to get device data on every device you want to flicker on and off and that is not an easy tasks.

        • Captain Crunch, I can identify. I want to sell my 5 acres (that urban farm) and put a couple hundred thou into a new place farther out. I need a bit of time. Just retired so I can make a shift. Things look poor at the moment. I have enough supplies to get through a year… or more depending on wild edibles. Enough to get a garden in.

      • Acid Etch says:

        Why dont we just fucking annex Mexico?

        You insist on giving all the white man’s money to these fucking wetbacks, you refuse to fix that colossal goat fuck at the border, just fucking annex Mexico and be done with it.

        You think white supremacists are wrong?

        New England and the Northwest are all liberal states and they are nice places to live.

        Liberals are not the major enemy.

        What destroys cities is too many non-white people.

      • Winston Smith says:

        Well, if they turn the A/C units on and off repeatedly without a 2-3 minute pause between times they turn off and turn on, it will just trip the breaker for the condenser. This is because of how the gases rebalance inside the unit. It would essentially “hydrolock” the compressor, causing an immediate overload and burn out the breaker.

        • sixpack says:

          I won’t have a “smart appliance” in my house. I’ve got spares for my old appliances that are not internet/wifi/bluetooth capable. I’ve got parts and backups.

          • Nubmaeme says:

            I agree. My stove runs on propane and 9-volt batteries, no electricity at all. Had to replace the refrigerator in 2014. Just bought a basic one without all that computer crap in it, but it does have an ice maker. That’s the only amenity we wanted.

        • PO'd Patriot says:

          Most all your boards in the condenser units come through with five minute delays built in. In addition so do the digital thermostats to allow for pressures to equalize with a five minute delay. Without it, were the power to flash off and then come right back on the compressor would trip the breaker due to high amp draw known as “Lock rotor amps” If you look at the tag on the condenser unit it’ll tell you what the unit’s LRA is. Very seldom will the breaker in the panel fail.

          • Winston Smith says:

            I’m just unlucky then, I guess. I have fried two breakers from turning an A/C unit off and on too fast when I had an old analog thermostat. I made certain the new digital one I have now had the feature you mentioned, as well as not being a “smart” device. I refuse to have my appliances be connected to the internet and only buy ones that lack IOT (internet of things) connectivity. I may like to be tech savvy but that doesn’t mean I trust technology that could be used against me.

            • Philosopher says:

              Smart. Considering you screen name is that of the main character in the novel, “1984.”

              • Winston Smith says:

                Chosen on purpose for that very reason. We all want to rebel. However, is it even possible in such a world that we live in and will all our efforts be in vein and ultimately reigned in by Big Brother? Do we really have a choice, or is our only choice a meaningless death or submission to the system so that we can live out our meaningless lives in obscurity and semi-tolerable misery?

                In the end, 1984 ultimately leaves you wonder what exactly Smith meant by having learned to love Big Brother. Was it a genuine feeling or capitulation and has it’s possible meaning changed with time? Ultimately though, I hate cut and dry answers and so I try to provoke people to thought with what I do online. My screen name is meant to spark thought in the minds of those who see it and it is a part of the duality I see with our society. If it is not stopped by something drastic within the next 10 years I do fear that the tentacles of our own Big Brother will be so far reaching that we may all have no choice but to come to the conclusion that we do indeed love Big Brother- even if we don’t.

                • old nam vet says:

                  I’ve always wondered, did the shoot Winston?

                  • Winston Smith says:

                    It’s been many years since I read the novel, so I may get some of this wrong. However, you have to see where Orwell was going with it (and Animal Farm) as a criticism of Bolshevism. Orwell was a socialist and borderline Marxist in his political philosophy. His issue was with Bolshevism and what he saw as a revolution betrayed by it’s leaders. If memory serves, there is something like a cafe scene where all the original revolutionaries are meeting and he talks about how they have been slowly disappearing. (This being sort of a reference to Stalin’s purges.) The inference may have been that he was awaiting his death at the hands of the state. Then again, they may well choose to just leave him alone at this point, having seemingly gotten the submission that they wanted.

    3. PO'd Patriot says:

      Ac units can only be shut off three ways: Power failure, Access Wi-Fi thermostat controllers, hack ones tied into office computers. Single family home systems, same thing. And unless they are surge protected, the compressors and drive boards can get fried.

      • Captain Crunch says:

        That reminds me of a post I read the other day on here, I’m not sure who it was from

        How do you make ice in the desert with no electricity?
        La , San Diego , Vegas , Phoenix = fucked with zero power. I guess we better hope that EMP never happens

        • Acid Etch says:

          They did it in Luderitz before they installed power there. With a heat exchanger setup, water is run through an outer pipe surrounding an inner pipe in which an endothermic reaction is taking place in a fluid stream.

        • U.P. says:

          Northern Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota are looking like good spots to live. Cool summers, and you can heat with firewood in winters.

        • Winston Smith says:

          You could use compressed gas going from an area of high pressure to low pressure through a small orifice. It’s called Bernoulli’s Principle and is the basis for air conditioning and cooling systems and why they have expansion valves. It’s also how a carburetor works (and why they can ice at high engine speeds) and basically the reverse of how a steam engine works (Rankine cycle).

        • Anubis says:

          If you actually want to know how, the romans taught the Egyptians how to do so, but it is a lot of work for a small amount of ice. Those places would be death traps anyway.

          “The Romans would put water into a pit that was well-insulated with straw. The pit would be covered with highly polished shields during the day, to reflect the heat of the sun, while at night the pit would be uncovered so that the water within could lose the maximum thermal energy. Ice often began forming in the evening, and would typically be ready for harvesting by 3 or 4 a.m. Once harvested, the ice would be taken to the nearest icehouse for storage. “

      • hammerhead says:

        I know your an HVAC guy , so laugh at my stupidity.
        We hooked a temp lead to a brand new furnace in a new home so we could have some heat , 200 plus ft of cord to the gennie .
        The 300 dollar board didnt like the power source , lol

        So yeah , the boards in individual units puke long before they pull the grid down .

        • PO'd Patriot says:

          Good thing it wasn’t a new Carrier inverter unit, that board would have been around two grand.

          • Philosopher says:

            PoP: did you see the latest news? Carrier is firing US employees and moving production to Mexico. Fucking traitors.

            • Winston Smith says:

              As bad as that is, at least they didn’t pull a Chevy and move major component manufacturing to China (engines, etc.). Heartbeat of America indeed.

              • Philosopher says:

                WS: It still pisses me fucking off. And Ford can fuck off too. Moving their factories to Mexico. I will never buy another piece of shit fucking Ford.

                • Winston Smith says:

                  The last new vehicle I bought was a Japanese branded car that was styled in California with an engine made in Mexico, mechanical engineering and components from Japan and was made in Tennessee. Oh, and I think the interior and electronics came from North Carolina (if memory serves). The company that built it is now owned by the French. Welcome to globalism! At least with older Japanese vehicles like mine, you definitely got your money’s worth (it’s nearing the half million mile mark on it’s original engine). With China crap, it’s anybody’s guess if it will last much longer than the warranty. (There’s a reason that Great Wall, Geely, Dongfeng, SAIC, etc. don’t sell cars in the US. They just build parts for our manufacturers to sell in their cars!)

            • PO'd Patriot says:

              Well wouldn’t surprise me. Most of the fan motors, and boards are either made in China or Mexico. Every time I see a commercial touting Trane, where they say “nothing stops a Trane” I chuckle. Been installing and repairing HVAC equipment for almost thirty years. Its all junk now.

              • PO'd Patriot says:

                ^@Pholosopher.

                • Marie says:

                  Wait a minute. Was it in the article or did someone here say we could get the power back on in six months? But i thought i read before that all the transformers are made in China? So how are we supposed to get them when cars, boats, planes, etc have their electronics fried? I read before somewhere that we would be back in the 1700’s…wow, starting all over again. But at least the Controllers can’t control us then with all their electronics!

    4. AGENT SKINHEAD says:

      Oh maaaaaan!
      Suffering a lot of problems trying to contact SHTF.

    5. Philosopher says:

      Considering there were several major hacks last year: of Sony and the OPM governement data base, it does’t take a lot of imagination to understand the electrical grid and the computer networks in the US are fragile and vulnerable. In a number of ways.

    6. hammerhead says:

      I really think all this technology will protect itself pretty soon . All of the systems are there , they just need to be integrated and thats in progress .
      Short of a nuke , it might be harder than we think and in ten years time it will be impossible to stop the grid and its influence and intrusion .
      You will never be in the dark and wishing you were , i guess is my point here .

    7. Scott Kuli says:

      The government, if it wanted to, could tell what show you’re watching on television by the power spikes used for different lighting on the tv. Yes, they can do that and it’s been proven.

      Smart TVs are a scam. Sorry, but they are.

      An easy way to fool them though would be to hook up something to them that also uses power and balances out the usage. Something like a desk fan would probably do it. They’d then have to rewrite software to take into consideration only the jumps in usage, and then you can think of something else to do if you’re privacy minded.

    8. russ says:

      the smart meter can be defeated by wrapping it with aluminum foil.

      • Marie says:

        I read about that somewhere – covering up the smart meter with tin foil…but then they can’t read it and wouldn’t they send you a letter in the mail wanting to come in the yard to CHECK it? How to get around that? I also read to put tin foil on the inside wall behind the meter so the radiation does not come into the house. I would love to cover it up outside, but wouldn’t that make trouble?

    9. Emily Summer says:

      Luckily, we do not have any smart appliances or thermostats. We also know how to read paper maps, lol.

    10. swinging richard says:

      If you can communicate with your appliance via phone, someone else can also.

    11. Plan twice, prep once says:

      So the smart meter communications conundrum explains all the cellular antenna I see on thigh tension line towers, that never did squat for local cell reception.

      I live in a sea of antennas, cameras, scanners. There’s so much delicate crap used to spy and control that is so fragile, and will become technologically obsolete in just a few years.

    12. Asshat says:

      I was in lowes the other day and they got this thing called iris which links the smart phone technology to your home and can control the thermostat the door locks even has cameras inside your home that you can view from your stupid phone. To hell with that I wouldn’t pay for that and you couldn’t pay me to let it be installed in my home EVER. Anything that hooks into the web can be hacked IMO. Some things are better left alone. What is with this surveillance and phone apps crap. Leave me alone dammit. I don’t want any of this . I bet there are people just thinking of ways to sabotage the grid.

      • 2isone says:

        Well, I really like my wireless security cams, but good luck to anybody if they wanted to hack them. They work only for me correctly, and sometimes not even then… (humidity, bugs and motion are issues). I do however, have a privacy dot on the cams in my handheld devices.

    13. Taxdn2poverty says:

      Truly amazing that you are always predicting the end of the world, yet attempting to sell us some hair brained investment scheme that will enhance our retirement income at a much later date. Truly amazing!

    14. Mr Smith says:

      All these so called smart devices are spying on us from our TV’s to Roki boxes but the worse ones are X-Boxes that turn into wifi hot spots 50 times a day using a hidden SSID and Samsung TV’s.

      Only a fools rides the internet these days without buying there own wifi-router firewall and setting outbound firewall rules.

      Go green, pull the plugs when you are not using these spyware gadgits like smart TV’s

     
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