New Risk to your data center power, High Voltage Hackers

When you assess the risk to your data center power you think of most of the time weather related issues, accidents, and maintenance on high voltage transmission lines.  Arstechnica reports on the FBI's news release.

Hackers in the electric grid? Meh—fear the dude with the stolen tractor

The power grid is under actual attack in one corner of Arkansas.

Cyber security pundits and contractors can't seem to make it through a presentation without invoking the specter of hackers shutting down the US electric grid. That's certainly something to be concerned about, especially if we end up at war with a country like China, but at the moment, actual incidents are hard to come by. Indeed, serious electric grid vandalism remains comfortably old school—likeclimbing a 100-foot, high-voltage transmission tower and chopping through the cables with a saw, then removing a few bolts from the bottom of the metal tower, then attaching a half-inch thick cable to the tower with a 15-inch eyebolt, and then pulling the cable across the adjacent Union Pacific railroad track "in an apparent attempt to utilize a moving train to bring down the tower." You know, old school.

According to the FBI, this actually happened in Cabot, Arkansas, in the early morning on August 21. The vandalism closed state highway 321 for the entire day, and the FBI has offered a $20,000 reward for the arrest of a suspect.

Here is the FBI news release.

FBI Offers Up to $20,000 Reward for Information Regarding Downed Cabot Power Line 

FBI Little RockAugust 22, 2013
  • Special Agent Kimberly Brunell(501) 228-8403

LITTLE ROCK—Randall C. Coleman, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the state of Arkansas, announced that the FBI is offering a reward up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for the following incident:

As the Cabot community is aware, on Wednesday, August 21, 2013, a high-voltage transmission line in the Holland Bottoms area, on Arkansas Highway 321 near a Union Pacific railroad track, was intentionally downed. The FBI, Cabot Police Department, and Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office, in coordination with officials with Entergy Arkansas and Union Pacific Railroad, continue to investigate this incident. The investigation has determined that the person(s) responsible attached a cable to the framework of the 100foot tower and placed the cable across the railroad track in an apparent attempt to utilize a moving train to bring down the tower. Although no injuries resulted from this act, the placement of the line created a risk to the community and to the trains using the track.

We believe that someone may have seen a person(s) or vehicle(s) in the area during the early morning hours of August 21, 2013, or may have heard someone removing bolts from the base of the tower, as this act would have created substantial noise. We believe the person(s) responsible is/are familiar with the Holland Bottoms area. This person(s) may also possess above-average knowledge or skill in electrical matters.

We are asking for anyone who may have any information that might be related to this matter to contact us at FBI’s Little Rock Field Office at (501) 221-9100 or We emphasize that regardless of how insignificant you think your information might be, or whether you think we already are aware of it, we want to hear your information. Sometimes, even the most minor detail can assist investigators and public safety officials. We encourage anyone who may have photographs or video of this area to share that information with us. We remind the public of the reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for this incident.