In his book, Lights Out, Ted Koppel quotes George Cotter explaining the terrifying vulnerability of the American electricity grid.
I think George Cotter knows what he’s talking about. In April 2015 Cotter produced his fourth white paper in a series titled Security in the North American Grid — A Nation at Risk. He sends these white papers to policy makers and federal institutes charged with homeland defense. All the material cited is unclassified. Although the paper is technical, its conclusions are simple and stark.
With adversaries’ malware in the National Grid, the nation has little or no chance of withstanding a major cyber attack on the North American electrical system. Incredibly weak cybersecurity standards with a wide-open communications and network fabric virtually guarantees success to major nation states and competent hactivists. This industry is simply unrealistic in believing in the resiliency of this Grid subject to a sophisticated attack. When such an attack occurs, make no mistake, there will be major loss of life and serious crippling of National Security capabilities.