Pakistan’s national power grid has failed, leaving almost the entire country in the dark. With officials blaming a mysterious “plunge in the frequency,” conspiracy theories quickly proliferated.
“A countrywide blackout has been caused by a sudden plunge in the frequency in the power transmission system,” Pakistani power minister Omar Ayub Khan wrote on Twitter, shortly after the country was plunged into darkness before midnight on Saturday.
Pakistanis soon shared pictures of their blacked out cities and towns, with the starry night sky clearly visible above without the usual light pollution.
Khan added that repair crews had been dispatched to power stations, and urged citizens to remain calm.
Government spokesman Imran Ghazali said shortly afterwards that power would be restored to Islamabad within three hours, and to the rest of the country by Sunday morning.
Abid Qaiyum Suleri, an economic adviser to Khan, said on Twitter that a 500KV transmission had broken down, though Suleri did not know exactly how. He suggested that fog or an “uptake issue” from the Tarbela Dam hydroelectric plant could have been responsible.
However, other theories soon spread in the darkness. Some predicted a coup against Prime Minister Imran Khan. Others warned of an impending attack by India.
Other commenters stepped in to remind them not to panic, to wait for power to be restored, and to “go to sleep early tonight.”
While rebel attacks have caused massive blackouts in Pakistan before, the country’s crumbling infrastructure and growing demand for power often leave citizens without power for hours on end. However, new Chinese-built power stations and supply lines are beginning to make up the shortfall.
Courtesy of rt.com
Tornadoes hit the Girne (Kyrenia) district of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) late Friday, inflicting significant damage on businesses, homes and the power grid.
Coastal settlements of Ozanköy, Çatalköy, Karşıyaka and Lapta Hotels Region were particularly damaged with strong winds ripping off rooftops, trees and power lines. Three people were slightly wounded due to falling objects.
The Teknecik Power Plant, the main electricity plant of the TRNC, was also affected as a transformer blew up, causing blackouts in the town of Girne and adjacent settlements.
President Ersin Tatar visited the affected areas on Friday and pledged to help those who suffered losses.
Authorities resumed efforts early Saturday to assess the damage and clean up the debris.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Saturday in a Twitter message that Turkey will continue to stand by the TRNC to overcome the damage, offering his condolences.
Tornadoes are a rare phenomenon in the Mediterranean basin, however, they have increased both in number and strength in recent years with experts pointing to adverse effects of climate change and global warming.
Courtesy of dailysabah.com
UPDATE -Major #PowerCut leaves large parts of #England without #electricity – #London #UK ( #CyberAttack ??? )
The National Grid said two generators went down but the issue is now resolved and people should have power back.
Power is being restored across parts of the UK after large areas were hit by an outage for about an hour.
The National Grid Electricity System Operator said issues with two generators caused a loss of power, but that it was “resolved”.
The company said: “We experienced issues with two power generators causing loss of power in selected UK areas. The issue is now resolved and the system has returned to normal. Anyone continuing to experience a local issue should contact their local Distribution Network Operator for assistance.”
The problem was initially thought to affect London and the South East but also impacted swathes of the Midlands, and the North West.
Western Power said 500,000 people were affected in its distribution area. They described it as a “major incident” and said all customers had power restored by 6pm.
Northern Powergrid said 110,000 customers lost power on Friday evening. The company supplies 3.9m homes in the North East as well as Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.
Those who were affected lost power between 5.10pm and 6pm.
Electricity North West said 26,000 people were without power in areas spreading from Penrith in Cumbria to Stockport, Greater Manchester.
Power was out between 4.54pm and 5.17pm.
In the South East, UK Power Networks tweeted on Friday evening: “We’re aware of a power cut affecting large parts of London and South East.
“We believe this is due to a failure on National Grid’s network, which is affecting our customers.”
About 10,000 people were initially affected in London and the South East, but engineers created a workaround which meant the majority of customers got power back quickly, the company has said.
In a tweet, the company said: “The issue was on the National Transmission Network, we believe supplies should all be back up and running.”
Train services in and out of London, including Thameslink, Southern and Gatwick Express are facing delays and cancellations because of the disruption.
London North Eastern Railway (LNER) said a number of its trains had broken down between London and Stevenage, suspected to be because of the electrical supply problem.
They said services would be delayed by up to an hour until at least 8pm.
LNER also told customers not to travel from Kings Cross and said any tickets for today would be valid tomorrow.
The north London station was evacuated.
A British Transport Police (BTP) spokesman said: “We currently have BTP officers assisting at several stations owing to current disruption caused by power issues.”
Traffic lights in London have also experienced problems and the Victoria Line on the London Underground was down for 40 minutes, Transport for London confirmed.
The line is now running with severe delays but all other lines are operating a good service.
TfL warned peopled to be cautious while driving on roads in the capital, but said they were not aware of any major congestion after the outage.
Rail operator Thameslink said many of its trains were “at a stand”.
A tweet said: “The power network has failed in the large parts of London and the South East. This has prevented our trains between Farringdon and Bedford from being able to take power and as a result, most of our trains are currently at a stand.”
Cheshire Police has said it is aware of an outage in the Ellesmere Port area, including Great Sutton and Little Sutton. It told people not to contact police, but to call their electricity providers.
In south London, customers described “apocalyptic” scenes as the power went out in Clapham Junction station.
Harriet Jackson told PA: “(I) realised that nothing was open and there was hardly any phone signal.
“All the traffic lights were down, but there were no police present, which meant it was dangerous to cross – cars weren’t stopping either.
“It was like witnessing something out of an apocalyptic film.
“No one knew what was going on and, given it’s a Friday afternoon, it’s the last thing you want to encounter.”
The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “We are in contact with National Grid and Energy Distribution Networks. The issue is now resolved and the system has returned to normal.”
The Department for Transport tweeted: “Today’s power outage has had knock on impacts on travel. We’re working hard with @networkrail and others to ensure systems are up and running as quickly as possible, so that everyone can complete their journeys safely.”
Courtesy of Sky News
Hackers that tried to interfere with the safety systems of an industrial plant are now looking at power utilities too.
A hacking group described at the ‘most dangerous threat’ to industrial systems has taken a close interest in power grids in the US and elsewhere, according to a security company.
The hacking group believed to be behind the attack on the industrial control systems (ICS) of a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia are now apparently probing more potential victims around the world including US power grids according to security company Dragos.
“The most dangerous threat to ICS has new targets in its sights,” Dragos said. “This expansion to a new vertical illustrates a trend that will likely continue for other ICS-targeting adversaries.”
This particular hacking group is notable because of one incident it was involved with. In late 2017 it was revealed that hackers had infected the industrial control systems of a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia with malware – known as Triton or Trisis – which was designed to interfere with industrial safety systems.
The malware targeted the systems which controlled the emergency shutdown capabilities, and security companies warned that the attackers were developing the capability to cause physical damage and potentially shutdown operations. At the time analysts warned the activity was consistent with a nation state preparing for an attack; later analysis by security company FireEye linked the malware to a Russian state owned research lab.
In April, FireEye also said the same malware had been discovered on systems at another, unnamed company. And now Dragos has warned that the group behind the malware – which is calls Xenotime – has been probing US and Asia-Pacific power networks after previously focusing only on oil and gas.
“Starting in late 2018, Xenotime began probing the networks of electric utility organizations in the US and elsewhere using similar tactics to the group’s operations against oil and gas companies,” Dragos said.
Dragos said the 2017 attack on the Saudi Arabian oil and gas facility represented an escalation of attacks on ICS because the malware targeted safety systems and was designed to cause loss of life or physical damage. The company said that since that attack the hacking group has expanded its operations to include oil and gas firms outside the Middle East and said the group compromised several ICS vendors and manufacturers in 2018.
Dragos said that since 2017 the hacking group’s activities have included significant external scanning and research on potential victims and attempts at external access focused on North American and European companies.
In February this year, Dragos said, it spotted attempts to gather information associated with US and Asia-Pacific electric utilities.
“This behavior could indicate the activity group was preparing for a further cyberattack,” the company said. Dragos said it had seen attempts to use lists of previously stolen usernames and passwords to try and force entry into target accounts. But it also said that none of the electric utility targeting events has resulted in a successful intrusion.
Dragos said that evidence of this group’s interest in electric utility operations is “a cause for deep concern given this adversary’s willingness to compromise process safety.”
The security company said most of the activity by the hacking group focuses on initial information gathering and access operations necessary for follow-on ICS intrusion operations and future attacks. But it also said there is no evidence indicating that this group is actually capable of executing a disruptive or destructive attack on electric utility operations
Dragos said that organisations running industrial control systems should prepare for potential breach and disruption scenarios. It said the most important thing a security team can do is improve their awareness of ICS network activity. Companies should also have worked on scenarios that deal with the potential loss of safety instrumented systems integrity, like having incident response teams on call and configuration and process data both for comparison to possible compromised devices, and aid recovery in the event of a breach.
“ICS operators must address such concerns in advance, rather than trying to figure out such sensitive, complex items mid- or post-intrusion,” Dragos warned.
Threats to industrial control systems – the infrastructure which runs everything from power grids to factories and rail networks – are on the rise, according to security experts. “More capable adversaries are investing heavily in the ability to disrupt critical infrastructure like oil and gas, electric power, water, and more,” said Dragos.
Written By By Steve Ranger At zdnet.com
Depth: 100 km
Distances: 659 km SE of Guayaquil, Ecuador / pop: 1,953,000 / local time: 02:41:12.5 2019-05-26
200 km E of Moyobamba, Peru / pop: 44,300 / local time: 02:41:12.5 2019-05-26
82 km SE of Lagunas, Peru / pop: 9,200 / local time: 02:41:12.5 2019-05-26