Blaster Connected to Blackout

By on September 5, 2003

An article in ComputerWorld reports that the Blaster Worm may have contributed to the severity of last month’s blackout in the NorthEast.

On the day of the blackout, Blaster degraded the performance of several communications lines linking key data centers used by utility companies to manage the power grid, the sources confirmed.

“It didn’t affect the [control] systems internally, but it most certainly affected the timeliness of the data they were receiving from other networks,” said Gary Seifert, a researcher at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory in Idaho Falls, referring to flow-control and load-balancing data that’s transmitted over public telecommunications networks. “It certainly compounded the problems” relating to the congestion of key communications links used by utilities to coordinate contingency efforts, Seifert added.