October 21, 2013
Over the weekend, Time Warner Internet (TWI) services had a massive outage near the Northeast region in New York City.
The areas affected include:
• New York
• Forest Hills
TWI acknowledged that their “Network Operations Center is working to restore data services as quickly as possible.”
An investigation into “the matter” was initiated and customers were promised updates on the status of their service.
When the issue was resolved, TWI released this statement : “Earlier today, some Time Warner Cable Internet customers in the Northeast experienced intermittent issues accessing several popular websites due to technical issues with one of our network backbone providers. These issues affected other Internet providers in the area, too. Traffic has been re-routed, and our customers should be able to access their favorite websites again. We apologize for the disruption to their service.”
Earlier this year, then Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conveyed concern about the possibility of “attacks on our nation’s control systems — the control systems that operate our utilities, our water plants, our pipelines, our financial institutions.”
In 2012, DHS began combining resources to create a digital militia that will come to the aid of the US government to protect against cyber threats. Their focus will be all digital government infrastructures, industry, academia and any cyber “emergencies” that may manifest without warning.
Telecommunications corporations are mandated to report “sensitive information” to DHS and provide tat to establish patterns of internet behavior to be deciphered by federal surveillance agencies.
Last February, SCADA Systems, a corporation that provides industrial automation technology to agencies surveilling the energy grid was targeted for an elaborate hack of their facilities in the US and Spain.
In a statement representatives from SCADA said: “We do not have any reason to believe that the intruder(s) acquired any information that would enable them to gain access to a customer system or that any of the compromised computers have been connected to a customer system.”
SCADA is connected through networks to power plants, water-treatment facilities, traffic lights and other “critical infrastructure”.
The National Academies (NA) report of 2007 that was declassified as Hurricane Sandy victims were left in the dark, warned of widespread power outages, stated that cyber-attacks, unlike natural disasters, probably could not cause lengthy blackouts.
The NA report pointed out that “cyber-attacks are unlikely to cause extended outages, but if well-coordinated they could magnify the damage of a physical attack.”
A hacker attack on the power system “could deny large regions of the country access to bulk system power for weeks or even months,” which would generate “turmoil, widespread public fear and an image of helplessness that would play directly into the hands of the terrorists.”