Society’s use of the Internet has exploded over the last 20 years, and there’s no indication of it slowing down. As cyber technology grows, so do the vulnerabilities associated with these advances. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the global cost of cyber crime damages jumped from $445 billion in 2014 to $600 billion in 2017, and those numbers will undoubtedly continue to climb as criminals realize it’s potential for profit.

While U.S. cyber-security experts are some of the best in the world, other nations and non-state groups have equally talented hackers, many of which are looking for vulnerabilities in the United States’ digital defenses. While most Americans might suspect that their online bank accounts may be vulnerable to cyber criminals, what is surprisingly unknown to the general populace is the level of vulnerability in the nation’s electrical grid infrastructure.

If our power grid were to go black, conditions would be catastrophic. The truth, however, might allow us to sleep better at night. While many aspects of American society are open to cyber attacks, the national power grid may not be so easy to disrupt. To further explore the vulnerabilities of America’s electrical infrastructure, RECOIL OFFGRID asked some of the nation’s leading experts in cyber security to share their opinions on one looming issue: Can cyber-criminals actually cause a national blackout? Pablos Holman is a world-renowned hacker who has used his skills to further develop defense systems for both the federal government and private corporations. Dennis Santiago is a public policy analyst and the author of the Bank Monitor system currently used by financial institutions to assess security for a wide spectrum of U.S. banks. Finally, Patrick Miller is an independent security and regulatory advisor for industrial control systems in the energy, telecommunications, water, and financial arenas throughout the world.

“The nation’s power grid is not a “homogenous system,” so it doesn’t run on the same power network throughout the country. The likelihood—Pablos Holman

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