Attacks on substations are becoming more frequent across the country, creating new discussions about how to protect the nation’s electrical grid from becoming a critical infrastructure crisis. In a recent article, Network Integrity Systems (NIS) offers modern sensing technologies to detect attempted intrusions in real time and help protect substations from ambush.
The article begins by looking back ten years ago on how the Pacific Gas and Electric Power substation (Metcalf Energy Center) was attacked in San Jose, California, nearly causing catastrophic damage to the area. Attackers entered the facility undetected, firing rifle shots at the station’s transformers. Because the station was only equipped with remote alarms and not higher security protection, authorities only received information that the transformers were overheating, leading responders to arrive almost an hour after the attack was over. Perpetrators have still not been identified.
Fast forward to 2022, and similar attacks continue in Oregon, Washington, and North Carolina. However, these attacks have resulted in widespread power outages lasting for days, leading to catastrophic damages.
According to NIS, fiber optic sensing technology could have prevented these attacks. Installing NIS’ sensor around the substation’s perimeter would have detected the perimeter breach, which allowed the escalation of the attack. In the Metcalf case, the intruders began the attack by entering an underground communications vault and cutting the cable; NIS’ solutions would have detected that initial intrusion allowing authorities to respond and thwart the attack.
An excerpt from the Network Integrity Systems article reads, “Not only would the severed cables have resulted in instant alarms, but the mere act of handling the cables to make the cuts would have been detected.” With the implementation of fiber optic sensing technology, attacks made on substations can be neutralized.
NIS’ INTERCEPTOR and VANGUARD data security solutions and their SENTINEL perimeter and asset protection solutions use fiber optic sensing technology to protect power stations, government and military facilities, National Security Information, data centers, and other critical infrastructure sectors.
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Network Integrity Systems
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