Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Back Doors to Critical Infrastructure

Yesterday while my wife was gardening near our home's natural gas meter, she smelled the odorant which suggested there might be gas escaping near the meter. It wasn't an emergency, but she called Avista. A technician responded promptly, found the very minor leak, and fixed it.

Being a technologically curious person, I asked the service technician how Avista's wireless meter reading was working out. He seemed a bit surprised that I even knew about it. He seemed even more surprised that I was aware of security risks created when utility companies began to use wireless technologies (known as Supervisory Control and Data Acquistion or SCADA systems) to read and control systems.

In its August 2006 edition of its member magazine Signal, the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association discusses SCADA vulnerabilities in an article entitled Back Doors Beckon Openly. The article refers to a Government Accountability Office report published nearly three years ago that went into considerable detail about the SCADA threat.

Public utilities (gas, water, electric, telecommunications) are part of our critical infrastructure. We as consumers should be aware of how prevalent SCADA systems are in our communities so we can report suspicious activities that may represent an effort to exploit a system vulnerability.


Anonymous Steve E said...

Your comparison of the Badge and gold versus plated metal truly describes various law enforcement agencies at all levels. We ultimately see what the department is made of on a daily basis from the inside and especially from the outside.

Also, I enjoyed your TWC saga.....
Don't despair, HELP is on the way. If you need a good contact within TWC, let me know.

4:20 AM, September 30, 2006  

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