Cyberterrorism: Will Russia, China and/or ISIS turn off our electrical power?

We just got this press release about an important conference on Newport. 

Two of the best-known publishers of energy newsletters, Sam Spencer, who publishes Smart Grid Today and Power Markets Today and Llewellyn King, who founded The Energy Daily and produces and hosts White House Chronicle, on PBS, are teaming up with the Pell Center at Salve Regina University on a comprehensive conference on cybersecurity in the utility industry. 

“Grid cybersecurity is one of the critical frontiers in the security of the U.S. infrastructure system,” King said.

The conference will be held Sept. 26-29, 2016 at Salve Regina University in Newport.  “In this scholarly setting the industry can learn best practices; cybersecurity vendors and others can get down to granular issues that aren’t easily discussed in the office setting,” Spencer said.

The “Newport Conference” will bring together utility IT officers, managers, first responder teams as well as vendors of firewalls, alarms and other security systems for utilities.

“The utility industry is undergoing great changes in its structure. It is being reshaped by disruptive technologies, environmental pressures and social expectations.

“More and more, the old grid is giving way to the new grid in a sophisticated, computer-dominated world where the enemy could be in any line of code, any weak link in the industry,” Spencer said.

King added: “The first goal of modern warfare is to take out the electrical supply, and the rest follows from there. As a result, those who wish to do harm to a country — and to the United States, in particular — are aware that without electricity, a great nation is paralyzed.”

He said that he saw the precursor to this kind of havoc back in 1965, when most of the Northeast went dark. That was incredible but today, with more reliance on electricity throughout the life of the nation, things would be even worse.

King and Spencer said enemies, both state and non-state (like ISIS), are hard at work probing our cyber-defenses, seeking weakness and waiting to strike.

“We want to advance the understanding of the threat as well as to ensure that the best practices in cybersecurity are being followed as the grid itself changes into something new and even more electronically interconnected than in the past,” they said.

For sponsorship and registration information, please contact Llewellyn King at 1-202-662-9731 or 1-202-441-2702, or e-mail him at