Lights Out

Lights Out

A Cyberattack : A Nation Unprepared : Surviving the Aftermath

Book - 2015
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In this New York Times bestselling investigation, Ted Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America's power grid is not only possible but likely, that it would be devastating, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared.
Imagine a blackout lasting not days, but weeks or months. Tens of millions of people over several states are affected. For those without access to a generator, there is no running water, no sewage, no refrigeration or light. Food and medical supplies are dwindling. Devices we rely on have gone dark. Banks no longer function, looting is widespread, and law and order are being tested as never before. 

It isn't just a scenario. A well-designed attack on just one of the nation's three electric power grids could cripple much of our infrastructure--and in the age of cyberwarfare, a laptop has become the only necessary weapon. Several nations hostile to the United States could launch such an assault at any time. In fact, as a former chief scientist of the NSA reveals, China and Russia have already penetrated the grid. And a cybersecurity advisor to President Obama believes that independent actors--from "hacktivists" to terrorists--have the capability as well. "It's not a question of if," says Centcom Commander General Lloyd Austin, "it's a question of when." 

And yet, as Koppel makes clear, the federal government, while well prepared for natural disasters, has no plan for the aftermath of an attack on the power grid.  The current Secretary of Homeland Security suggests keeping a battery-powered radio.

In the absence of a government plan, some individuals and communities have taken matters into their own hands. Among the nation's estimated three million "preppers," we meet one whose doomsday retreat includes a newly excavated three-acre lake, stocked with fish, and a Wyoming homesteader so self-sufficient that he crafted the thousands of adobe bricks in his house by hand. We also see the unrivaled disaster preparedness of the Mormon church, with its enormous storehouses, high-tech dairies, orchards, and proprietary trucking company - the fruits of a long tradition of anticipating the worst. But how, Koppel asks, will ordinary civilians survive?

With urgency and authority, one of our most renowned journalists examines a threat unique to our time and evaluates potential ways to prepare for a catastrophe that is all but inevitable.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780553419962
Branch Call Number: 363.11 KOP 2015
Characteristics: 279 pages


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bibliotechnocrat Dec 07, 2016

Koppel may well be right - he makes a strong argument - that the power grid is highly vulnerable to cyber-attack, and that of us city dwellers would be pretty much hooped if the lights go out for longer than a few days. He paints a dire picture of government inaction and inattention too, which feels about right. However, as a piece of reading material, it's not so fun. He repeats his points over and over, and I couldn't help but feel that his tone was just a bit self-important. It felt a bit like he wanted to write an alarming book about a potential catastrophe and happened on this subject. It would have been nice if he'd ended with a few more observations on how to survive or prepare - he makes fun of the 'preppers' though he's pretty impressed with the Mormon approach. Overall a bit of a dissatisfying read.

ArapahoeAnna Aug 02, 2016

This book outlines the many vulnerabilities of the USA's power grid. Koppel tends toward being sensational but I appreciated his interviews with expert sources. Made me want to drill a well and go off grid. The part about Mormon disaster preparedness was really insightful.

Nov 14, 2015

I found this interesting & thoughtful (like or respect TK or not) what was more interesting to me was the chapters on the morman faith principals. I plan ahead just because of living in the earthquake zone. An easy read.

Nov 05, 2015

[Disclaimer: I met Koppel years ago and have no use for him - - I've never heard anything from Koppel about all the jobs, technology and investment offshored, but NOW he seeks to warn us - - a bit late, kemosabe!]
// A renowned broadcast journalist . . . \\
You've got to be kidding? Name just one actual breaking news story Koppel ever broke?
Explain to me why we've never heard ANYTHING from Koppel about the offshoring of the Einstein 3 coding - - the IPS/IDS security program mean to protect the OPM and government agencies? Koppel is another teleprompter-reading clown and fraud. Nothing will ever be learned from the likes of him!

LMcShaneCLE Oct 15, 2015

My greatest fear ...aargh!

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