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This U.S.A. Today Article from 6/12/17 further discusses additional threats to the electric grid. Another reason why an automatic standby generator is a must.

Malware discovered that could threaten electrical grid

SAN FRANCISCO —  A new malware variant capable of knocking out networks that run power grids around the globe has been discovered by a computer security company studying an attack on the Ukrainian power grid.

The malicious code is capable of directly controlling electricity substation switches and circuit breakers and could potentially be used to turn off power distribution or to physically damage equipment used in the electricity distribution grid, researchers at ESET wrote in a paper posted Monday.

U.S. power providers are “properly alarmed,” especially at the sophistication of the program, said Sue Kelly, president and CEO of the American Public Power Association.

“We are going up a level in the video game here,” she said. The organization and the power companies it serves are working with national and international organizations and the U.S. government to analyze the malware and the threat it might pose.

Automatic malware that attacks the electric grid is “a big deal,” said Mark Weatherford, chief cybersecurity strategist at the security firm vArmour.

The danger of the malware is that it can automatically trip the breakers within a power system that keep the electrical lines from being overloaded. If one breaker is tripped, the load is shipped to another portion of the power grid. If enough are tripped, in the right places, it’s possible to create a cascading effect that will eventually overload the entire system, said Weatherford, who was formerly the chief security officer at the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, the regulatory authority for North American utilities.

“In some cases, it could then take days to restart all the plants,” he said.

Two things stand out about the malware, dubbed “Industroyer” by the researchers — it’s an order of magnitude easier to use than previous programs and it wasn’t actually deployed to do any real damage, meaning whoever’s behind the December attack might simply have been testing the waters.

Industrial control

Industrial control networks of the type used in power systems use communications protocols that are much less secure than the kinds of computer networks used by banks, retailers and businesses.

“They were developed years ago, without security in mind. They weren’t designed for smart grids or interconnectedness,” said Robert Lipovsky, a senior malware researcher with ESET.

The United States has been concerned about possible attacks on the power system for years. President Trump’s cybersecurity executive order, signed in May, specifically asks for a report on dangers to the electrical grid, for example.

Industroyer’s ease-of-use is so disturbing because industrial systems are still playing security catch-up, said Raheem Beyah at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

“I knew we were going in this direction but I didn’t think it would be this soon,” said Beyah, who teaches a course on infrastructure hacking and protection for graduate computer science students.

Beyah says the software needed to take down an electrical grid no longer requires the resources of a nation to create. Adding a module to the malware is now “something that a strong computer science graduate student could do,” he said.

There’s no evidence the malware has been deployed in the United States, but the highly sophisticated way it was written means it would be very simple to use here, say experts.

Worldwide there are close to 50 power control system protocols, but Industroyer’s modular system makes it easy to build a module aimed at a specific one and add it to the framework.

For example, the malware contained a module to attack IEC61850, the substation automation program used in Ukraine and common in many European electrical systems.

In the United States, the DNP3 program is more commonly used. Given the modular nature of the malware it would be extremely easy to add a module that targeted the U.S.-protocol, said Galina Antova, co-founder of Claroty, a company that provides industrial control security.

“It’s basically plug-and-play,” she said.

The code is “extremely alarming” because it could too easily be deployed against U.S. electric transmission and distribution systems to devastating effect, said Robert Lee, the CEO and founder of Dragos, an industrial control security company that also analyzed it.

The creators of the malware aren’t known, though several working in cybersecurity have pointed a finger at Russia or entities working for Russia, both because of the Russian-backed rebellion currently fighting in Ukraine and because it is known to have extensive cyber capabilities.

Testing?

ESET researchers were investigating a cyberattack on Ukraine’s electrical system that took place on Dec. 17. The attack occurred at midnight and switched off just one substation, knocking out power to a small area provided power to a small area of the capital Kiev. It came about a year after an earlier cyber attack, which used different malware to knock out power to some 230,000 in Kiev.

During the research, ESET came across the Industroyer malware. The malware discovered by ESET is capable of performing the same type of attack used in 2016, said the cybersecurity company .

Researchers who follow this field wonder if the Ukraine attack was merely a test or even a threat. The attackers did nothing to hide their attack or what they were doing.

“It’s starting to feel like the Ukraine attacks in 2015 and 2016 were a playground for someone running a proof of concept,” said Antova.

Do you take your electrical power supply for granted?

 

Many Americans do, but the fact is that our national electrical grid has become very vulnerable due to an aging and complex infrastructure, the threat of cyber attacks and terrorism, and ever-increasing extreme weather conditions across the country.

 

American homes, industries, and businesses are deeply dependent on reliable electricity, so threats to the consistent delivery of electricity put modern life itself at risk.

Electrical substations are critical links in the power grid, which make it possible for electricity to move long distances and distribute power to residences and businesses throughout the United States.  The interconnectivity of our grid, while beneficial also makes it vulnerable to natural disasters and cyber-attacks. Evidence of these attempted attacks is increasing in frequency.  While our utilities have many systems in place to thwart these attacks, it could happen.

Our aging electrical infrastructure also poses risks to our power needs. Reliability in our local areas is another factor. Isolated incidents, as well as wider spread outages are a familiar occurrence.  Being prepared for a power interruption with an automatic Generac Standby Generator or portable generator is no longer a luxury, but a necessity, especially for  those who work from home and require computer access on a daily basis. The conveniences of water and a refrigerator and the need for heat or sump pumps depending on the circumstances of the outage can be critical as well.

Storms and natural disasters have caused hardships due to lost power for hours, days or weeks at a time. But a cyber or physical attack on our electrical infrastructure could be much longer.

We highly recommend that all households have a personal disaster recovery plan.  A generator should be an integral part of this plan. Loss of power effects communications, emergency dispatch, fuel and transportation, security, banking, medical facilities and medications, as well as food and water.

If you don’t have an Automatic Standby Generator, or an ongoing service contract on your present generator, we urge you to be prepared and talk to Lucci Electric about the alternatives. We can provide a range of solutions that will insure that you and your family have ample power should the grid be compromised.

 

Outdoor Lighting Installation:

Warmer days and nights entice us to spend more time outdoors. As you begin to plan landscaping or where to place your outdoor furniture, don’t forget that outdoor lighting design and installation can transform your outdoor space into a beautiful extension of your home. And completely enhance all the other things you do to make your outdoor space enjoyable.

Lucci Electric can design a custom plan for you to bring your outdoors living area to life by making your outdoor lighting magical. From path lighting to up lighting or accent lighting as well as flood lighting, we have the ideas and solutions to illuminate your property and home and truly make your outdoor experience special as well as bringing you peace of mind.

We consider several elements when developing a plan for outdoor lighting installations, including safety (on pathways), security, and pure aesthetics (lighting a beautiful garden, wall, patio or tree).

When planning your outdoor and landscape lighting, we encourage you to think in threes: light something close to the house, something midrange in the yard, and something afar.  This creates interesting focal points when viewed from the house or the street at night. One overlooked benefit of outdoor lighting is that it minimizes the reflection of glass surfaces viewed from inside the house at night. If you install an outside fixture just outside a door, you will be looking beyond the glass reflection.

We also develop our plans with the philosophy that less is more and avoid the mistake of using too much light outdoors. People often think more is better, brighter is better, but outside wherever you create a super bright area you’ve also created super dark areas, and that can be unsafe. It’s better to have low levels of lighting all around. The front door is one of the few outdoor areas where a brighter light is acceptable, with a traditional lighting plan calling for two wall-mounted fixtures flanking the door.

Ask yourself what your purposes are for wanting illumination in your yard. You may wish to set a mood during the evening hours. Maybe you have a bench or a shadowy garden corner you need to illuminate for security reasons. A path leading through the garden may require landscape lighting to mark its boundaries.   Add outdoor lighting, and your outdoor space is immediately transformed into usable space. You might want to highlight some features of your backyard like a water fountain or pond. Flood lights provide security and illumination.

Since paths and areas are on the ground, it makes sense that all path and area lights project downward. And, most of them have some kind of shade or glare guard to prevent the light from shining into people’s eyes. High quality fixtures may be constructed out of brass or copper. Brass and copper have the advantage of better weathering the environment and offer a nice patina after installation.

Our expertise in vision, design and implementation can help you to expand your space with outdoor lighting installation and create a beautiful and safe area that you will enjoy and be proud of.

Recessed Lighting Installations:

If you are looking to update and transform your home, make sure to consider recessed lighting.

A well designed recessed lighting plan and expert recessed lighting installation has shown to be a profitable and enjoyable move. . It can improve the light quality throughout your home, adding efficiency while giving your space a fresh new look.

Recessed lighting is attractive and functional and comes with several benefits; it makes your space look brighter, larger and more modern and these changes can add to the value of your home.  Recessed LED lighting is more economical and once installed can last for up to 25 years.

You will enjoy the benefits of recessed lighting throughout your home and we recommend working with experts as the right fixture and lamp can help maximize the overall effect and impact in any room.

Giving your family room, living room or kitchen lighting a makeover with recessed lighting is a great investment.

Recessed Lighting installation is important in the living/family room, an area of the house where people tend to gather for long stretches of time and engage in an array of activities, including conversation, watching TV, reading, playing board games and using a laptop.

Bookcases, built-ins, fireplaces, or an entertainment unit and even art work can be highlighted with recessed lighting. Adding a dimmer to recessed lighting provides a warm appearance. Recessed lighting is also effective in bedrooms, above the bed on each side with a switch for reading, for general lighting in the room, a closet, or even a workspace.

If it’s time to update your kitchen lights, recessed lighting is ideal for kitchens, and it’s what you’ll find in most new homes.  When determining the number of recessed lights your kitchen needs, think in terms of general lighting and task lighting. General lighting is what provides the overall brightness in the room. Since kitchens require a higher level of brightness than most other rooms of a home, you may need a few more lights or brighter lights than you’d use in other rooms of the same size.

Recessed lighting can provide many special effects throughout your home. For example, it can be installed in a living/family room is to wash the walls with light, which can be accomplished with recessed lighting when it is directed toward the walls.

Illuminating an entry way or hallway with recessed lighting is another way to provide a warm and welcoming effect.

Recessed lighting installation is a simple way to add a modern, streamlined and enjoyable update to your home.  Our expertise can help you make the best decisions as you plan your update and our vast experience will insure a flawless recessed lighting installation.

Generac’s ULTIMATE POWER DEAL

Generac is offering a free power washer with any HOME STANDBY generator purchase.

Get ready for spring AND be ready for the next power outage.

Winter Tips For Your Generator

Call us for your  in-home consultation. 203-762-7013

Click on the link below or copy and paste to your browser for details.

http://www.luccielectric.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/generac-ultimate-power-deal-2017_redemption-form.pdf

Valid on purchase of Generac Home Standby Air cooled sizes 11KW-22KW

Valid on purchase of Generac Protector Series (Liquid cooled) sizes 22KW-48KW

Offer valid through March 31, 2017.