Getting Caught Off-Grid

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Getting Caught Off-Grid
Micheal Kline “Reality Check” Audio player below!

In the following player we are discussing the reality of the electric grid going down and a personal story about me being somewhat caught off-guard. I have been on vacation with my family this past week in the North Georgia area with Tropical Storm Alberto coming through. So, like a good little prepper, I packed a small propane stove, my EDC, my camping cook set, and a family size battery powered lantern.

Continue reading Getting Caught Off-Grid at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Getting Started With Solar Cooking

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How long can you go without craving a hot, homemade meal, if you have been eating only cold rations and snacks?  If you’ve ever been without power for more than just a couple of days, eating cold ravioli or tuna out of the can gets really old, really fast. Most survival minded people realize, better than most, that it doesn’t take much to disrupt the flow of electricity we depend on for cooking. A natural disaster or freak weather event can turn the most modern home into a survivalist camp within a few hours. Electricity can also be interrupted by man-made crises, such as civil unrest, terrorism, or an EMP, making that hot meal a rare treat.

A popular slogan among survivalists and preppers is, “Always have a back-up to your back-up.”  When it comes to cooking, what is your back-up to your back-up? Do you have more than one way of cooking a hot meal when the power is down?

Getting Started With Solar Cooking via The Survival Mom

One simple addition to your emergency preparedness is a solar oven. It’s a great way to get started cooking off the grid, and is something everyone, not just preppers, should have on hand.

As long as the sun is shining and the sky is relatively clear, a solar oven can serve up a delicious pot of rice and beans and brownies for dessert without requiring any fuel. In fact, its dependence on the sun as its only source of fuel, is the reason every home should have a solar cooker. Solar cooking is an unbeatable back-up for making sure there’s a hot meal on the table three times a day. It’s also a sure-fire way to have hot water on hand for sanitation purposes and to purify water.

There Is Something New Under The Sun

Solar cooking and using the sun to preserve food has been around for hundreds of years, but only in modern times has the use of solar cookers become widespread both in the survival community and among communities around the world with unreliable electrical power. Its advantages are obvious.


9 Reasons why your home should have a solar cooker
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  • There is no need to store additional fuel.
  • Sunshine is free, unlike propane, butane, gas, and other fuels.
  • It’s possible to store several months’ worth of food, but storing all the fuel you might need isn’t as easy.
  • Once paid for, or built, if you’re the DIY type, there are no other expenses involved and maintenance is simple.
  • There are no dangerous fumes or safety issues to worry about.
  • A solar cooker can be used for every type of cooking, except frying.
  • Food never burns in a solar cooker.
  • During hot, summer months, the use of a solar cooker helps keep the kitchen, and the cook cool.
  • Over time and with frequent use, the use of a solar oven will save money on the electric bill.

A Solar Cooker For Every Home

A solar cooker is a must-have as a back-up method for cooking food. It is the single most self-reliant way to cook food and heat water, and has the additional advantage of being a DIY project if there’s a handyman (or woman) in the family.

Commercially produced solar cookers, such as the All-American Sun Oven, are perfect for the prepper who is too busy for even one more DIY project. The Solavore is another reliable brand that has been reviewed here. Depending on the brand you choose, these stoves have consistent quality construction, are designed to reach temperatures for the quickest possible cooking results, and have features for enhanced usability, such as interior thermometers, large reflecting panels (optional on the Solavore), and a weather resistant design.

However, some of these ovens carry a price tag of $300 or more and can be large and bulky. In a Get-Out-Of-Dodge scenario, there might not be room for my Sun Oven in the back of our Tahoe, and if I ever had to cook for more than my family of four, it might be too small. That’s one of the limitations of a store-bought solar cooker. You’re stuck with a standard size that may be too small, and your budget may not allow for a second cooker.

On the other hand, a DIY solar cooker can be customized to your specific needs. One friend used a large ice chest on wheels for her solar oven. She could wheel it to any location in the backyard and she chose a size that could accommodate as many as four baking dishes. Another ingenious DIY plan that can be found on the internet uses a 5 gallon bucket and a reflective sunshade. Total cost?  Not much more than ten bucks, if that. The advantage of many DIY solar cookers is that they can be dismantled for convenient transport, and all of them require materials that are already in most garages. Plans for homemade solar cookers can be found on dozens of websites and demonstration videos abound on YouTube.

The DIY solar cooker comes with a few disadvantages. If the design doesn’t maximize the amount of sunlight available, you may end up with nothing more than a hot silver box sitting out in your yard. I recommend testing and tweaking any DIY design until it consistently reaches 350 degrees or more. Reliable temperatures will help you plan mealtimes and insure that foods reach temperatures that will deter any bacterial growth. Another issue with the DIY cooker is its durability. If a slight breeze knocks over your cooker and pot of beans, you’ll know you need to fine-tune the design for added stability.

Getting Started With Solar Cooking

Regardless of which solar cooker you settle on, some foods are easiest for getting started.  Be sure to keep a log of foods you cook, time of day you begin cooking, and the length of cooking time required. This log will be a huge help to you as you branch out and begin cooking a wider variety of foods.

  • Hard boiled eggs. Place eggs on a dark colored towel or inside a dark pot inside your cooker.  After 20 minutes, check one egg for doneness. Solar cooked hard boiled eggs will be softer than those cooked in a pot of boiling water.
  • Rice is either cooked or it’s not. It’s probably the easiest food to experiment with when you’re new to solar cooking. Combine rice and water in a covered pot. Check for doneness after 25 minutes. A package of Rice-a-Roni works just as well for your experimentation.
  • Yes, brownies! Mix up a batch of your favorite store-bought or homemade recipe, pour it into a dark, greased pan and place it in your solar cooker. Use the baking times recommended by your recipe, test for doneness, and leave in for additional minutes if required. I’ve found that solar-baked brownies are usually finished in the same amount of time as oven-baked.
  • Heat water in your solar cooker to pasteurize it. Check the temperature of water after 30 minutes. At 149 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees Celsius), all germs, viruses, and parasites are killed. This information, along with your solar cooker, could be one more way to insure safe drinking water in an emergency and provide sterilized water for medical and first aid purposes.

Like any new skill, the only way to learn how to cook with a solar oven is to just do it. For most dishes, allow at least an extra 30 minutes to your cooking time.

Top Ten Tips For Solar Cooking

  1. Solar cooking isn’t an exact science. It requires a bit of trial and at least a few errors to determine the correct cooking time for any food.
  2. Always use dark pots and pans with any solar cooker. These basic and inexpensive Granite Ware pots work very well. If you must use a light colored or shiny baking dish, cover it with a dark colored hand towel.
  3. Thin metal baking dishes work best in a solar cooker. They will heat up more quickly and lessen the amount of cooking time needed. Again, Granite Ware is a good example of these.
  4. A thermometer is a must-have for a solar cooker.
  5. Allow your solar cooker to pre-heat for 15-20 minutes. Pre-heating will shorten the cooking time a bit.  Just be aware that the interior of your cooker will be hot, so be sure to use pot-holders.
  6. Always use a baking dish with a lid for all your solar cooking. The lid retains important heat and moisture. There’s no need for a lid if you’re baking. Pies, brownies, cookies, cakes, and bread won’t require a lid.
  7. If you’re cooking meat, make sure the interior of the oven reaches at least 180 degrees. Again, a thermometer is a must to insure food safety and predictable cooking times. This thermometer is small and inexpensive.
  8. Use the ‘slow-cooker’ method when you’ll be gone all day. Place the solar oven so that it faces directly south. Pop in your baking dish, close the lid, and by dinner time, you’ll have a hot, delicious meal waiting for you.
  9. Moisture will likely collect inside the cooker during the cooking process. Wipe the inside dry before storing it.
  10. Turn your solar cooker into a food dehydrator by propping open the oven door by a half inch or so. This allows moisture to escape while the interior of the cooker retains heat.

If you’re new to solar cooking, prepare to be amazed.  There’s nothing quite like placing a baking dish in a box out in the sun and coming back later to a fully cooked and delicious meal.  A prolonged power outage doesn’t mean the end to hot, nutritious meals when you have a solar cooker as a back-up.

 

Getting Started With Solar Cooking via The Survival Mom

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Communications Grid Down!

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Communications Grid Down! Ray Becker… “The Ray Becker Show” Audio player provided! So, you got your long term storable food and fresh water is covered. You have your ammo and some gold and silver. Imagine a grid down scenario…no power, no running water. We now enter the Psychology aspect of Prepping. The isolation. The not … Continue reading Communications Grid Down!

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1 In 8 Chance Of A Grid-Crippling Solar Storm In The Next Decade?

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1 In 8 Chance Of A Grid-Crippling Solar Storm In The Next Decade?

Image source: NASA

Jan. 5, 2017

January offers us a time for reflection and prediction. For centuries, people looked to the stars for signs of what is to come, and winter offers many opportunities for stargazing.

As we begin a new year, perhaps it is wise to consider not only the beauty of the sky but also the destructive power it holds.

Astronomers pay particularly close attention to solar flares, which are sudden, intense and rapid variations in the sun’s brightness. These fairly common occurrences happen when magnetic energy that has built up in the solar atmosphere suddenly releases.

A solar flare contains high-energy photons and particles that are equivalent to millions of 100-megaton hydrogen bombs exploding at once. While regular solar flares are not a danger to Earth, extreme events, or solar storms, could be catastrophic to our way of life.

Are You Prepared For A Long-Term Blackout? Get Backup Electricity Today!

In fact, according to a study published in the journal Space Weather in 2012, there is a 12 percent chance (or, one in eight chance) that Earth will experience a catastrophic solar event within the next decade. This “megaflare” could disrupt or destroy modern technology, causing trillions of dollars’ worth of damage from which it could take many years to recover.

Space physicist Pete Riley made the prediction in the study by examining historical data and then making comparisons between the sizes and occurrences of solar flares.

Scientists have discovered that the sun goes through 11-year cycles of activity. During the solar maximum phase, the sun is covered with sunspots, and huge magnetic whirlwinds frequently erupt from its surface. Although it is rare, sometimes these flares burst away from the sun, sending massive amounts of charged particles into space.

1 In 8 Chance Of A Grid-Crippling Solar Storm In The Next Decade?

Image source: Wikipedia

The last recorded megaflare occurred in September 1859. Known as the Carrington Event, this enormous solar flare is named for astronomer Richard Carrington, who recorded his observations of the huge solar storm.

Carrington observed an enormous flare erupt from the sun’s surface that sent a particle stream toward Earth at a rate that exceeded 4 million miles per hour. These highly charged particles created breathtaking lights, or auroras, that were visible as far south as the Caribbean.

The New York Times in 1859 reported that New Yorkers gathered to watch “the heavens … arrayed in a drapery more gorgeous than they have been for years.”

Although the lights were indeed beautiful, the Carrington Event caused all kinds of disruption to 19th century communication systems. Telegraph stations caught on fire, and communication outages occurred on a scale never seen before.

In 1989, a geomagnetic storm – not as powerful as the Carrington Event — caused Canada’s Hydro-Quebec power grid to fail, leaving millions of people without power for up to nine hours. A similar storm today would have much more technology to disrupt, and the results would be catastrophic.

Be Prepared: Get The Ultimate In Portable Backup Power!

A megastorm on the scale of the Carrington Event could damage or destroy electrical power grids, disrupt GPS satellites and put a stop to Internet and radio communication.

According to a 2008 report from the National Research Council (NRC), a Carrington-like event could cost up to $2 trillion of damage within a year, and full recovery could take up to a decade.

The NRC report stated that, in addition to communication disruption, the event would adversely affect all aspects of modern life, including transportation, financial systems, government services. In turn, the distribution of water, food and medications would be halted.

In the conclusion of his 2012 report, Riley maintained that it is his hope that his prediction would be useful in building an “infrastructure that can withstand such an event.”

“Since the event occurred only 150 years ago, it is a constant reminder that a similar event could reoccur any day,” Riley wrote.

As we begin a New Year, it would be well if we took his advice.

Do you believe America is prepared for a Carrington-type event? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You Prepared For Extended Blackouts? Read More Here.

GRID DOWN Part 2 Solar Power!

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GRID DOWN Part 2 Solar Power Bobby Akart “Prepping For Tomorrow” Audio in player below! What do you know about living with Solar Power? On this episode of Prepping For Tomorrow we have a technical expert on solar energy joining American Preppers Radio aka “Prepper Broadcasting”. If you have ever thought about solar power or even if … Continue reading GRID DOWN Part 2 Solar Power!

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GRID DOWN!

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GRID DOWN! A history + preparedness solutions by Sol-Ark (Two Part Analysis) Bobby Akart “Prepping For Tomorrow” Audio in player below! On the next two week’s episodes of the Prepping for Tomorrow program, Author Bobby Akart discusses the number one concern of most preppers—a collapse of the power grid. Do you think this is only … Continue reading GRID DOWN!

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White House Warns: THIS Event Would Impact ‘National Government Stability’

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White House Warns: THIS Event Would Impact ‘National Government Stability’

WASHINGTON — The threat of what the White House calls a “significant cyber incident” against the power grid is so great that the Obama administration has unveiled a major new strategy, complete with a six-level schema that acknowledges the most severe attack could cause widespread blackouts, deaths, and even impact the stability of the federal government.

The Presidential Policy Directive on “United States Cyber Incident Coordination” was released July 26 and intended to “provide clarity and guidance about the Federal government’s roles and responsibilities” during a cyberattack.

“Cyber incidents are a fact of contemporary life, and significant cyber incidents are occurring with increasing frequency, impacting public and private infrastructure located in the United States and abroad,” the directive states.

Modern technology has made life easier and is essential, the directive states, but “the same infrastructure that enables these benefits is vulnerable to malicious activity, malfunction, human error, and acts of nature, placing the Nation and its people at risk.”

Get Free Backup Electricity — That Works Even During Blackouts!

Much like the now-defunct Homeland Security Advisory System, the directive unveiled a color-coded system to help the public understand the significance of a specific cyberattack. Dubbed the “Cyber Incident Severity Schema,” it includes six levels:

Level 5 (Emergency or Black) – “Poses an imminent threat to the provision of wide-scale critical infrastructure services, national government stability, or to the lives of U.S. persons.” The critical infrastructure services includes the power grid.

Level 4 (Severe or Red) – “Likely to result in a significant impact to public health or safety, national security, economic security, foreign relations, or civil liberties.”

white house cyberLevel 3 (High or Orange) – “Likely to result in a demonstrable impact to public health or safety, national security, economic security, foreign relations, civil liberties, or public confidence.”

Level 2 (Medium or Yellow) – “May impact public health or safety, national security, economic security, foreign relations, civil liberties, or public confidence.”

Level 1 (Low or Green) – “Unlikely to impact public health or safety, national security, economic security, foreign relations, civil liberties, or public confidence.”

Level O (Baseline or White) – A nuisance attack that causes no damage.

In addition to creating a cyber incident schema, the directive also:

  • Defines a significant cyber incident as: “A cyber incident that is … likely to result in demonstrable harm to the national security interests, foreign relations, or economy of the United States or to the public confidence, civil liberties, or public health and safety of the American people.
  • Establishes the US Department of Justice, acting through the FBI and the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF), as the federal lead agency for investigating cyberattacks.
  • Creates a Unified Coordination Group (UCG) that will organize the response to a major cyberattack. The cyber UCG will coordinate response with local, state, regional, tribal and foreign governments.

The US will use sanctions against foreign governments that launch cyberattacks against America, Americans or American allies, White House counterterrorism advisor Lisa Monaco told the media. Monaco did not say what the sanctions would be, but named Russia and China as possible targets.

Obama himself mentioned the possibility of sanctions against China over cyberattacks in September 2015. The president later backed down after a discussion with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

“We are preparing a number of measures that will indicate to the Chinese that this is not just a matter of us being mildly upset; but is something that will put significant strains on the bilateral relationship if not resolved,” Mr. Obama said in a question-and-answer session with business leaders on economic issues. “We are prepared to take some countervailing actions in order to get their attention.”

The directive came during the same week when authorities confirmed that the Democratic National Committee’s computer system had been hacked. Many observers blamed Russia for that attack.

Do you believe a cyberattack is inevitable? Share your opinion in the section below:

Are You Prepared For Blackouts In Your Area? Read More Here.

A Monkey Just Single-Handedly Shut Down Power For An ENTIRE COUNTRY (Yes, Seriously)

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A Monkey Just Single-Handedly Shut Down Power For An ENTIRE COUNTRY (Yes, Seriously)

Image source: Pixabay.com

In one of the craziest-but-true stories so far this year, a monkey is to blame for shutting down the entire electrical grid in the African nation of Kenya.

All the monkey had to do to shut off service to 44 million people was to fall off a roof and onto a transformer and trip it, sparking a chain reaction, the Kenya Electricity Generating Company acknowledged.

“This caused other machines at the power station to trip on overload, resulting in a loss of more than 180 MW (megawatts) from this plant which triggered a national power blackout,” a statement posted on the company’s Facebook page stated.

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What’s truly extraordinary is that the monkey was not even hurt, NPR reported. The monkey was able to easily penetrate the Gitaru Power Station’s defenses, which include electric fences designed to keep wild animals away.

Power outages caused by animals are actually very common, although it’s rare for one to black out a nation.

The Cybersquirrel1 website reported that squirrels alone were responsible for 743 power outages around the world as of June 6. Birds were responsible for 321 outages, raccoons and snakes for 61 outages each and rats for 32 outages.

The most recent animal-caused outage in the US was in Pulaski County, Virginia, on June 3. Appalachian Power reported that a snake knocked out power to 2,700 customers around Christiansburg by coming into contact with electrical equipment.

What is your reaction to this story? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You Prepared For Blackouts In Your Area? Read More Here.

7 Reasons to Protect Your Devices Against Electromagnetic Pulse

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protect electronics from electromagnetic pulse

Definition: Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP): A burst of electromagnetic radiation that can damage electrical and electronic devices, observed as a byproduct of a nuclear explosion.

EMP risk

Could an atmospheric nuclear explosion in just the right place over the U.S. cause massive damage from the ensuing EMP pulse? Absolutely, the evidence is strong that potential EMP effects would be wide-ranging and would be very difficult from which to recover. When many people first learn of this potential, devastating disaster, they often wonder if there’s any use in protecting electronics from electromagnetic pulse — electronics that, if they remained undamaged — could provide an enormous survival advantage.

DIY PROJECT: Learn about making a homemade Faraday container with these instructions. These types of containers are known to protect electronic equipment.

A great read about these effects is the Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack (2008), a report to the U.S. Congress. It’s more readable than you might think.

EMP Report

EMP Report

The EMP Commission, as it has come to be known, used historical and experimental data to analyze expected damage in all aspects of modern society. For the most part, the EMP causes damage by inducing strong, damaging electrical currents in wires and unprotected electronic components.

But as time goes on, I’m more and more convinced that doomsday scenarios of an EMP attack on the U.S. that totally destroys all electronics and takes down our whole electrical grid are popular because they’re easy. The scenarios are “easy” because if you assume all electronics are fried by the EMP, you don’t have to worry about reconstituting our electronics-dependent civilization. However, there are a lot of reasons to believe that while an EMP attack would cause significant damage, it is not an automatic “extinction-level event,” and we actually have some control over our destiny.

Let’s define our discussion: All of us have electronic devices upon which we save important information: phone numbers, addresses, business transactions, documents, photos, etc. Whether it’s a smartphone, a computer, ebook reader, a flash drive, or a digital camera, all of our devices have some level of vulnerability to damage from a strong electromagnetic pulse. Modern vehicles and appliances have all become electronics-dependent as well. But vulnerability does not automatically doom the device; your behavior can reduce the vulnerability.

Reality check

The potential launch of a nuclear-tipped missile into the atmosphere above the U.S., which would be the most effective way to generate a damaging EMP, has been on the radar of our military for many years. In particular, after their embarrassing inability to make a significant impact on the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 our military services and Department of Homeland Security have paid greater attention to asymmetrical threats against the Homeland:

  • Some military command, control, and communications systems have been “hardened” against EMP effects since the Cold War days.
  • Our military services regularly plan for and practice supporting state and local governments in disasters, known as “DSCA,” or “Defense Support of Civil Authorities.”
  • The Navy and Coast Guard actively watch for unusual cargo ship behavior, as this is one platform from which an EMP-causing ballistic missile could be fired close to the U.S. mainland.
  • The Navy and Air Force routinely launch interceptors to investigate unusual aircraft approaching U.S. airspace.
  • While not generally publicized, the U.S. has anti-missile defense systems fielded by the Army, Navy, and Air Force. National Missile Defense is alive and well in the U.S.
  • The National Operations Center in Washington D.C. has near-instantaneous and simultaneous communications with the emergency management “Warning Points” in all 50 states. A missile warning can be transmitted in seconds, allowing critical infrastructure like power grids and communications networks to shut down and limit damage to EMP-vulnerable components.
  • Federal, state, and local emergency management officials can now use the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) to alert the public to take specific actions like shutting down communications devices, stopping industrial processes like water and fuel pipeline systems, and urging people to exit potentially hazardous areas like elevators. Warning messages can be customized based on the facts of the situation.

EMP characteristics

The strength of the EMP pulse of energy is dependent on distance, sort of like a flash from a fireworks display: close up, the flash can be powerful and almost blinding, but from several miles away the light is weaker, less bright. Similar to light, the pulse affects things within its’ line-of-sight, meaning that in many cases terrain and built-up urban areas will create “shadow” areas unaffected by the pulse. So some people will receive a strong pulse, which could damage their electronics; others will be in the shadow and their electronics will probably be OK.

So what’s the point of protecting electronics?

If such a disastrous event would occur, what would be the point of protecting our electronics? After all, so many of them are used in very trivial ways. Even so, there are several very important reasons to take the time and effort necessary to keep them safe from the effects of EMP. They can hold vast amounts of information, the equivalent of thousands of books. Although we all love our books for reference and entertainment, when my Kindle holds over 230 books (and each of my kids has their own Kindle with nearly the same number), it’s impossible to say that hard copies are always better.

Here are just a few more reasons why protecting electronics from EMP is rational:

  1. Survival information — If you haven’t yet downloaded and stored large quantities of information related to survival, do it now. Many of these resources are completely free. (Check out this list right here on Survival Mom.) Store medical and first aid information on an old laptop, old smartphones, and ebook readers, such as a Kindle. Download books about herbal remedies, food preservation, and off grid living.
  2. Educational resources — Once the dust has settled, and life may never return to “normal” again, it will be up to parents and others in the community to provide an education for children. Homeschooling will almost certainly be required. Download classic literature, non-fiction books related to science, nature, history, and government. Ambleside Online, a free homeschool curriculum, has excellent lists of books, many of which are completely free as ebooks.
  3. Entertainment — Your kids reliance on electronics, and even your own, may be a total waste of time, but in a worst case scenario in which your family’s lifestyle changes dramatically, overnight, sources of entertainment could prove to be life-saving. Anything with stored movies, TV shows, music, and recorded books will help relieve stress and provide an important distraction.
  4. Keep historical information intact — Family photos and videos, geneological records, local history, U.S. History, the U.S. Constitution — these will all provide a touchstone to the past. In the book A Canticle for Leibowitz, after a cataclysmic event that destroys virtually all civilization, only a very few written records survive. One is a single scrap of paper, a portion of an old grocery list! Those who survive in a post-EMP world, however long the grid failure lasts, will want and need more than that in order to preserve and continue civilization as well as their heritage.
  5. Provide resources for spiritual renewal — Whether or not one is a church goer, a world that suddenly becomes a very scary, and likely very violent, will require inner strength. Copies of the Bible and other books of inspiration can easily be stored on ebook readers, computers, and smartphones.
  6. Tactical advantages — Having information and the ability to communicate via ham radio or walkie-talkies will give survivors, whether an individual or a group, an advantage over those who do not have those abilities.
  7. Earn money — With a vast amount of information, the ability to communicate and relay messages, provide entertainment and spiritual support, you’ll have the tools to earn an income and/or barter for products and services you need most.

What’s the point in protecting electronics from EMP?
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Carefully building one or more Faraday containers and then taking pains to protect individual electronic items is hardly a fool’s errand with all these advantages those devices provide.

Actions you can take to protect your electronics from EMP

The safest place for your electronics during an EMP is inside a metal box, (steel is a better conductor than aluminum), commonly referred to as a “Faraday Cage.” Metal tool boxes, file cabinets, even aluminum foil can shield your device from EMP.

The important thing is to makes sure the container is sealed by closing all openings, and is free of wiring that protrudes through the side of the container. The container receives the EMP pulse and conducts it around the outside, protecting the contents of the container from the EMP pulse. A quick test to check that your container is doing its job is to put a cellular phone inside and close it up; then call the phone with another phone. If you hear it ring inside the container, the container isn’t effective as a Faraday Cage. If it doesn’t ring, you can have some confidence that it will afford some level of protection for electronics kept inside.

An old metal first aid box makes a decent Faraday Cage

An old metal first aid box makes a decent Faraday Cage

At home and around the office, the next best defense for your electronics is to connect all power supplies to quality surge protectors. If the EMP pulse isn’t strong enough to kill your connected electronics immediately, they still may be vulnerable to the expected electrical current surge. The surge suppressor may or may not help, but it is an inexpensive additional protection.

One last protective measure is to have a whole-house lightning arrestor installed in your electrical panel. The part is less than $100, but it should be installed by an electrician. It absorbs a current surge, such as that from a nearby lightning strike. Not a 100% solution, but every level of protection you add tips the scales in your favor.

Surge Suppressor

Invest in quality surge suppressors

The Cloud

Another reason to protect your electronics is that we have learned to back up and protect data outside of our devices. The ubiquitous “Cloud” backs up a great deal of our data, just in the course of life. I’ve noticed that my Windows 10 laptop steers me into using their “OneDrive” cloud-based storage by default, requiring me to consciously choose to store documents on my laptop if I disagree. Smartphones often use their data providers’ backup systems, another “Cloud” variant. So in addition to being able to restore your contact list when you drop your phone in the toilet, in many cases a good part of your data is backed up by your carrier.

READ MORE: The Cloud isn’t just for worst-case-scenario data storage but for dozens of other, everyday survival applications. Read more here.

Professional data centers are well-protected against electrical hazards, and backup protocols regularly create off-line copies for disaster recovery. Protect your devices so you can make use of the backups that probably will survive. Having your stored information on more than one device is an inexpensive way to provide this protection yourself.

A last thought

We are raising an entire generation that was brought up with home computers, tablet devices, and smartphones. In many cases, your teenager is much more tech-savvy as to these devices that you are. Can you imagine the loss and disorientation they are going to feel when their world of connectivity is heavily damaged by an EMP? If for no other reason, protect your devices for the next generation.

Read more about life after EMP

More information here on this blog

protect electronics from electromagnetic pulse

The Day Civilization Nearly Ended

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DHS Not Prepared For A Power Grid Attack?

Image source: Pixabay.com

Four years ago this summer, the sun experienced a solar storm so severe that it nearly wiped out the entire power grid for not only the United States but the entire world.

In fact, the only thing that saved Earth was a stroke of fortune: The storm, known as a coronal mass ejection (CME), missed our plant by a mere seven days. If it had hit Earth – as one did in 1859 – the entire power grid would have been taken down for months, and our day-to-day lives would have been plunged back into the 1800s. As NASA itself acknowledged, the storm would have disabled everything that plugs into a wall outlet.

A new government report says that America is overdue to be hit by a storm, and that’s the topic of this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio. Our guest is Peter Vincent Pry, one of the nation’s foremost experts on threats to the power grid who tells us what we need to know about a massive solar storm that could hit Earth any day.

Pry tells us:
ν How a solar storm that took out Quebec’s grid in 1989 was only a fraction as strong as the 2012 or 1859 storms.
ν Why a solar storm would impact the power grid so dramatically that – unlike what happens during an ice storm – it would not be easily repaired.
ν What life without electricity or gasoline would look like, and whether the U.S. government is prepared for such a civilization-changing event.

In this second of a two-part interview, Pry also shares with us details about how Americans can prepare for a downed-grid – and what they should do to pressure their state and local legislators to do the same.

Don’t miss this week’s show if you care about the future of your family and nation!

DHS Not Prepared For A Power Grid Attack?

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DHS Not Prepared For A Power Grid Attack?

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A recent government report claimed that the Department of Homeland Security has made major strides to protect the power grid from a crippling attack, but that report runs counter to sworn testimony in front of Congress and to what experts say is really the case.

In fact, DHS appears ill-prepared to protect the United States from an attack on the power grid that could leave Americans without electricity for weeks, if not months. So says this week’s guest, Peter Vincent Pry, one of the nation’s foremost experts on threats to the grid. He is the author of the new book, Blackout Wars, the executive director of the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security, and he also served on the EMP Commission.

Pry tells us:

ν Why any steps DHS has taken to protect America pale in comparison to what needs to be done.
ν What the Obama administration has done, and not done, to address the country’s grid vulnerabilities.
ν How the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), part of the Department of Energy, has made America more susceptible to a power grid attack.
ν Which state might be the safest to live in during an EMP attack on America or even during a solar storm.

In the interview – which is part 1 of a two-part series – Pry also explains how the power grid can be protected on a local level, without help from Washington, D.C.

Don’t miss this week’s show if you’re concerned about America’s future and the threat to the electric grid!

2-Day Work Week Mandated After Desperate Country Runs Out Of Electricity

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2-Day Work Week Mandated After Desperate Country Runs Out Of Electricity

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Venezuela’s president has ordered government workers to work only two days a week in order to conserve power and to prevent blackouts.

The order means that government offices in the South America nation will be closed five days a week for next few weeks – giving workers a five-day weekend.

“The public sector will work Monday and Tuesday while we go through these critical and extreme weeks where we are doing everything to save Guri,” President Nicolas Maduro said.

Guri is a reservoir that supplies a hydroelectric dam; water levels in the reservoir are so low that power cannot be generated to the levels that are needed. Guri supplies about 75 percent of the electricity to Venezuela’s capital of Caracas.

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Maduro also ordered all schools in the nation to close on Fridays in an effort to limit electricity use. The president is trying to maintain what he calls social peace in order to keep blackouts from sparking riots that could end his government.

Preprogrammed Blackouts

The two-day work week is only Maduro’s latest effort to reduce electricity use. Many Venezuelans have been experiencing rolling pre-programmed blackouts deliberately created by the government in another effort to save the country’s ailing power grid, Bloomberg reported. In an earlier effort to save the grid, Maduro ordered clocks moved forward half an hour to save daylight.

Venezuela’s electric gird is breaking down because the nation is simply out of money, primarily because oil prices are too low to support Maduro’s socialist policies, Value Walk reported. The nation is also experiencing hyperinflation. Some Venezuelans are now using wheelbarrows of money to pay for basic goods like groceries.

The largest bill in Venezuela, the 100 bolivar note, will now pay for one loose cigarette, Bloomberg reported.

Maduro has another plan to get the lights back on in Venezuela. He is asking the United Nations for public works construction help to get the grid back up and running, Bloomberg reported.

What is your reaction to this story? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You Prepared For A Downed Grid? Read More Here.

Apple’s Tim Cook Says This Everyday Low-Cost Device Could Wipe Out The Entire Power Grid

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Apple's Tim Cook Says This Everyday Low-Cost Device Could Take Down The Power Grid

Apple CEO Tim Cook thinks that hackers could use a smartphone to bring down the electric grid.

Cook made the admission during a wide-ranging interview with Time in which he defended the company’s stance on encryption and its opposition to an FBI request to unlock a terrorist’s smartphone.

The world needs more encryption, Cook said, not less.

“Think about the things that are on people’s phones,” Cook said. “Their kids’ locations are on there. You can see scenarios that are not farfetched at all where you can take down power grids going through a smart phone.”

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Cook did not go into details, although he mentioned the power grid danger several times during the interview.

“Think about the people that are on a device, a medical device that depends on electricity,” Cook said. “And of course hospitals have generators, etc, but there’s a lot of people out in homes that do not. These are real things, these aren’t fantasy things by any means.”

Although hospitals do have generators, those generators typically would work only for days – and not weeks and months if the power grid were down for an extended period of time.

The technology industry veteran believes that the FBI’s opposition to encryption is a threat to privacy and to the nation’s security.

“I think it makes the US much more vulnerable,” Cook said. “Not only in privacy but also in security. The national infrastructure, everything.

“There’s financial information [on smartphones],” he pointed out.  “There’s your conversations, there’s business secrets. There’s an enormous long list of things that there’s probably more information about you on here than exists in your home, right. Which makes it a lot more valuable to all the bad guys out there.”

The FBI says it only wants Cook to unlock one smartphone, but Cook says that the request would impact far more than just him.

“The thing that they want me to invent, that key can turn millions of locks,” he said. “…to invent what they want me to invent puts millions of people at risk.”

Do you support Apple or the FBI? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You Prepared For A Downed Grid? Read More Here.

IN-DEPTH: Hillary Clinton Promises To Continue War On Coal If Elected

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IN-DEPTH: Hillary Clinton Promises To Continue War On Coal If Elected

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President Obama’s war on coal, a resource that provides 35 percent of America’s power, likely won’t end when he leaves office in January 2017. That’s because both Democratic presidential candidates are passionately opposed to coal.

“We have to move away from coal, everybody understands that there’s no doubt about it,” Hillary Clinton told the League of Conservation Voters in November 2015.

It’s a position that her campaign has affirmed, again and again, including when Obama placed a moratorium on the issuance of coal leases on public land.

“Hillary Clinton supports President Obama’s efforts to ensure our energy priorities align with our imperative to combat climate change, including today’s announced review [by Obama] which she would see through to conclusion as president,” Clinton’s spokesman, Ian Sams, stated on January 16 of this year, the same day Obama made his announcement.

Her opponent in the Democratic race, Bernie Sanders, also opposes coal.

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“To he– with the fossil fuel industry,” Sanders told a crowd in North Charleston, South Carolina, in November 2015. “Worry more about your children and your grandchildren than your campaign contributions.”

IN-DEPTH: Hillary Clinton Promises To Continue War On Coal If ElectedSanders said in December, “It’s time for a political revolution that takes on the fossil fuel billionaires, accelerates our transition to clean energy and finally puts people before the profits of polluters.”

Clinton, the former Secretary of State and former first lady, also published a blue print for what would happen after coal plants are shut down. She proposed a $30 billion plan to help coal miners, families and others who will be hurt as coal is phased out and plants closed.

“She will not allow coal communities to be left behind — or left out of our economic future,” the document states.

Among other things, the money will cover benefits to ex-miners, will finance schools in former coal mining communities, and will help miners transition to other jobs. But it will not help the coal plants.

“Hillary Clinton is committed to meeting the climate change challenge as President and making the United States a clean energy superpower,” the document states.

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Her plan on coal plants is virtually identical to Obama’s proposals.

The coal industry in the United States has collapsed since Obama took office in 2009. Coal company stocks lost 90 percent of their value between January 2009 and August 2015, CNN Money reported.

Additionally, more than one in five coal-related jobs in the US has disappeared since Obama was inaugurated, Politico said. Several major coal mining companies also have declared bankruptcy.

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Obama’s regulations on power plants have made it uneconomical for many of them to stay open.

“The administration has systemically eviscerated a high-wage industry, coal … and then offers welfare money,” Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association told Politico. “And rather than see opportunity to distance herself, [Clinton] now appears to embrace those policies.”

Officials in coal mining communities haven’t forgotten what the Obama administration has done. It has impacted how the communities view Democrats in general.

“People look at these folks and say, ‘They’ve completely abandoned us, it’s like we don’t live in America,’” United Mine Workers of America Vice President Ed Yankovich said of coal-country attitudes towards Democrats. “There’s a distinct bitterness about it.”

He added, “If you were a Democrat running for town supervisor, they’d treat it like you and Barack Obama were making decisions together. The question is whether Hillary Clinton can do something to assuage that and [have them] say, ‘You do care for us.’”

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Yet the jobs that Clinton’s plans would create pay less than mining jobs, coal experts say. That could make the economic crisis that coal country is already facing even worse.

How Coal’s Demise Could Affect Your Electricity

Critics have long complained that Obama’s energy plans would raise electricity rates for the average consumer. There seems to be some evidence that those predictions are coming true.

Hillary Clinton Promises To Continue War On Coal If ElectedThe retail price of electricity increased by 9.2 percent between August 2009 (his first year in office) and August 2014, according to government data. In fact, it is expected to increase even further by 2017. By September of that year, electricity will have increased by 15 percent since Obama’s first year in office, according to the same data.

“EPA completely ignores the fact that building new power plants is far more expensive than maintaining existing ones,” Travis Fisher, with the Institute for Energy, told The Washington Times. “We have a situation where EPA is forcing the closures of perfectly good and affordable power plants and trying to replace them with new, more expensive plants.”

Fisher continued, “This means higher electricity rates for Americans. EPA’s claim that its regulation will lower electricity bills is misleading. In reality, electricity rates will skyrocket under the proposed rule. The only way power bills will go down is if EPA succeeds in making Americans use substantially less electricity than we currently do. It’s like telling people that their grocery bill will go down if they’re forced to stop buying the food they need to feed their family.”

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Utilities will be forced to shut down coal-burning power plants that generate around 73,000 megawatts of electricity a year because of EPA rules, industry leaders told The Times. An additional 50,000 megawatts of electricity will have to shut down if the EPA’s new Clean Power Plan rule goes into effect.

In February 2014, an official within the Department of Energy said electricity rates in coal areas could rise by 70 to 80 percent as plants close, Off The Grid News previously reported.

That same month, US Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) warned that the shutdown of older coal-burning power plants because of Obama’s EPA restrictions would result in electricity shortages and power outages.

“If this recent cold weather occurs again in a year or two when these plants are shut down there simply will not be enough electricity available to keep homes and businesses warm,” Inhofe said. “It could result in massive blackouts. When Americans need their electricity it will not be there. It will be as if we’re living in the 1600s and everyone will be cold.

“… These coal-fired power plants which were critical to keeping homes all around the country warm during the cold temperatures are going to be shut down because of Obama’s environmental regulations,” Inhofe added.

With Hillary Clinton pledging to continue Obama’s policies, it may be time for Americans to consider generating their own electricity.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You Prepared For Blackouts? Read More Here.

US Gov’t Prepping For Attack ‘Equivalent To 40 To 50 Large Hurricanes’

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US Gov't Prepping For Attack 'Equivalent To 40 To 50 Large Hurricanes'

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US Department of Energy researchers have known for nearly a decade that a cyberattack could take down the power grid and have been working to prevent it.

Researchers at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) – a Department of Energy lab — actually demonstrated that a successful cyberattack on a power plant was possible during testing in September 2007.

INL Associate Lab Director Brent Stacey recently told a local TV station that while a mock cyberattack cannot be conducted on a city’s power plant, it can be done at the Idaho lab.

“With 111 miles of transmission and distribution grid that we own here at Idaho National Laboratory, we have the ability to run those tests and provide the facts for the community to take action,” Stacey said.

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The Idaho lab’s 2007 test proved that a cyberattack can cause actual physical damage to the grid, he told Local News 8. They conducted the test on a generator.

“We put it on our grid,” Stacey said. “We took a cyber hacker 11 miles away and they hacked into the system, and actually caused the grid to commit suicide. If you go on YouTube and look for the Aurora test you’ll actually see that event.”

Story continues below video

In December 2015, a cyberattack caused major power outages in the Ukraine in what was believed to be the first time that a cyberattack took down a grid for a significant period of time, Off The Grid News reported.

Stacey acknowledged that a cyberattack could take down power grids in America.

“A loss of power in a region in catastrophic,” Stacey said. “It’s important because all the other life sectors depend on electricity — fresh water, food supply and other things. It would take a very sophisticated attack to cause that kind of damage and the probabilities are low, but they’re not impossible.”

Shortly after the Aurora test, CNN reported that the Department of Homeland Security was concerned enough to brief the White House and start working on prevention efforts with the White House.

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“For about $5 million and between three to five years of preparation, an organization, whether it be transnational terrorist groups or nation states, could mount a strategic attack against the United States,” O. Sami Saydjari of the nonprofit Professionals for Cyber Defense told CNN in 2007.

A cyberattack on America’s power grid would be far more devastating than a major natural disaster, experts told CNN.

“It’s equivalent to 40 to 50 large hurricanes striking all at once,” economist Scott Borg said. “It’s greater economic damage than any modern economy ever suffered. … It’s greater than the Great Depression. It’s greater than the damage we did with strategic bombing on Germany in World War II.”

Borg estimated that such an attack would knock out power to one-third of the United States for three months and cost the country $700 billion. He made the estimate shortly after the Aurora test.

Do you believe America is prepared for a cyberattack? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You Prepared For Blackouts This Winter? Read More Here.

ISIS’ Plan To Destroy The Internet And ‘Panic’ The World

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ISIS’ Plan To Destroy The Internet And ‘Panic’ The World

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ISIS could be in the middle of trying to take down the Internet – and it may have tried doing so last year.

According to International Business Times, a major attack took place late last year on 13 root name servers – considered the backbone of the worldwide Internet – and it apparently came from the “IS Amaq Agency” app that is used by ISIS to spread its propaganda around the world. The app would have created a botnet to perform a massive “distributed denial of service” (DDos) on the servers.

At the peak of the attack, the servers were receiving 5 million queries per second. It would have taken as few as 18,000 smartphones using the app to conduct the attack. Users would not have known their phones were being used that way, IBT reported. The app is not available in the iPhone App Store or in Google Play.

“I feel certain that the IS news app was the source of the DDoS attack,” cybersecurity expert John McAfee told IBT. “One of my researchers has discovered encrypted packets being sent to the Amaq Agency news app.

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“We found the 13 Root Server Addresses in the app memory while the app was running. The addresses did not appear inside the static app. The addresses therefore had to be decrypted at run time. Why would they encrypt the addresses inside the app unless they were trying to hide the true purpose of the app? This is the smoking gun we were looking for.”

The attack, which took place between November 30 and December 1, wasn’t successful, although experts caution that a much larger attack could do damage – even taking down the Internet worldwide.

Cyber security expert Eddie Mize said a downed Internet also could impact the power grid.

“Imagine if the Internet went down for several days. I believe we would see significant power grid failure and potentially loss of emergency services,” Mize told IBT. “This could mean the failure of dams and flood controls, power and water distribution, natural gas distribution and control failure, and more.

“Perhaps the most alarming aspect would be to the financial sector. I believe that loss of the Internet for even a two-week period could cause enough disruption to financial institutions that consumers would lose confidence and this could be catastrophic to the markets. All of this could set up a chain reaction that could send the public in to a panicked tailspin.”

Does ISIS’ plan concern you? Share your thoughts in the section below:

More Than 90 Percent Of Customers Won’t Get Their Money When There’s A “Run On The Banks.” Read More Here.

The Frightening New Way Your AC Unit Could Take Down The Grid

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The Frightening New Way Your AC Unit Could Take Down The Grid

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Something as simple as an air conditioner could enable hackers to bring down an entire electric power grid – and it wouldn’t be that difficult for them to do it, according to a new report.

The so-called “smart grid” technology that is installed on some units could allow bad guys to use the unit – and its remote connection to the electric company — to crash the grid, according to security experts Vasilios Hioureas of Kaspersky Lab and Thomas Kinsey of Exigent Systems. Their report was recounted in Wired.

The technology at issue does not involve the Internet but instead radio waves used by the power company. The power company installs a device on an air conditioning unit, and then employs a radio frequency to “tell” the unit to shut off during peak hours, saving the homeowner money and also relieving pressure on the grid. Some companies even offer discounts to homeowners who allow the units to the installed.

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The radio signal is amplified on “repeater” stations throughout the area or city.

The problem: The signals aren’t always encrypted. Hioureas and Kinsey said that the units can be easily hacked, Wired reported.

“Anyone with $50 can generate a signal that can trump a repeater [to take out a few air conditioners]; and anyone with $150 can generate that through an [amplifier] and presumably take out a whole neighborhood,” Kinsey said. “And obviously you can scale that up as much as you want to [depending on the strength of your signal].”

ac unit 2 -- flickrHioureas and Kinsey presented their findings at the Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit in Spain.

There are several ways that hackers could wreak havoc with the power grid through air conditioning units, Wired reported. The potential attacks include:

  • Turn on all the air conditioners at once in a city so that they use so much energy that the grid gets overloaded and blows. One way in which a bad guy could do this would be to turn all the air conditioners at commercial or government buildings up to full at a time when nobody is at work, such as the weekend.
  • Turn off air conditioning during a heatwave, endangering many of society’s most vulnerable members. Upwards of 15,000 mostly elderly people died during a heat wave in France in 2003 because they lacked air conditioning.
  • Target individual homes or businesses. For example, turning off refrigerators or air conditioning at supermarkets or warehouses in an attempt to destroy food supplies.

“This is bad, and that’s why we need better security so that we don’t have the ability to manipulate the load,” Eric Johansson of the Swedish security firm Management Doctors told Wired. “You shouldn’t be able to do this.”

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Little skill is required to implement the attack, Wired said.

“All a hacker would need is to be on the same radio frequency as the utility company, and then they could monitor and record the commands the company sends to the devices (a technique known as sniffing). From there, they could just play back those recorded commands to other devices to get them to turn on or off (a so-called ‘replay’ attack),” Wired reported.

Sadly, it looks as if almost all of the appliances and systems in the homes of Americans could become weapons against us.

What is your reaction to the latest threat against the grid? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You Prepared For Blackouts This Winter? Read More Here.

A Cyberattack Finally Has Hit A Major Power Grid, And It Did Exactly What We Feared

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A Cyberattack Finally Has Hit A Major Power Grid, And It Did What We Feared

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A widely feared nightmare scenario has finally occurred, although in another country — hackers were able to cause a widespread power failure in the Ukraine by infecting utilities’ computers with malware.

Half of the homes in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of the Ukraine lost electricity Dec. 23 because of a malicious software program called Black Energy.

It is the first time a cyberattack has caused a widespread blackout.

“It’s a milestone because we’ve definitely seen targeted destructive events against energy before — oil firms, for instance — but never the event which causes the blackout,” John Hultquist of the cybersecurity firm iSIGHT told Ars Technica. “It’s the major scenario we’ve all been concerned about for so long.”

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Ukrainians lost power after computers at three different utilities were infected with Black Energy. The program caused the blackout by somehow disconnecting a number of substations from the grid.

“This is the first time we have proof and can tie malware to a particular outage,” Trend Micro senior researcher Kyle Wilhoit told Reuters. “It is pretty scary.”

Black Energy

Experts at iSIGHT and antivirus company ESET identified an updated version of Black Energy, a malware that’s been around since 2007, as the cause of the blackout. The researchers said Black Energy apparently contains an updated component called KillDisk that can shut down industrial control systems.

KillDisk is a Trojan that embeds itself inside computer controlled equipment. Once there, it can either serve as a gateway to let hackers take control of the system or insert malicious code which sabotages the equipment. Some versions of KillDisk have the ability to destroy hard drives and other computer components.

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Black Energy has been targeting various targets in the Ukraine, including media outlets, for about a year, Ars Technica reported. Black Energy is a particularly terrifying weapon because it enters systems through infected Microsoft Office documents.

The Sandworm Gang

Cybersecurity experts think a mysterious group of hackers that iSIGHT has dubbed the Sandworm Gang is behind Black Energy. Nobody knows where the Sandworm Gang is located, but iSIGHT suspects that they are Russians or have ties to the Russian government.

This is not the first time that hackers have infected a utility. In 2012, someone infected Saudi Arabia’s largest natural gas producer with malware.

Experts including Ted Koppel think it is only a matter of time before something like Black Energy targets America’s power grid. Koppel says such a cyberattack could knock out the US and Canadian power grids for weeks or months and lead to mass starvation in North America.

What is your reaction to the cyberattack, and do you think such an attack in the US is inevitable? Share your opinion in the section below:

Are You Prepared For Blackouts This Winter? Read More Here.

This Week’s Best Survival Posts – December 27th

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At Expert Prepper we’re committed to bringing you the best survival posts and preparedness information. There was a lot of great stuff out there this week, from survival gear reviews to breaking news and the latest and greatest survival tips. Check out this weeks best survival posts below: VID: How to poo in the woods,Because […]

The post This Week’s Best Survival Posts – December 27th appeared first on Expert Prepper Blog.

8 Fool-Proof Ways To Cook When The Power Is Out

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8 Fool-Proof Ways To Cook When The Power Is OutCooking when the grid is down can be a bit tricky for those who rely on their oven or other electrical appliances to prepare a meal. Whether you live in an area prone to power outages or simply want to add some emergency cooking methods to your bank of knowledge, here are some ideas for making a hot meal without power.

Keep in mind that cooking methods or tools for outdoor use are labeled that way for a reason! Be safe and if you aren’t sure whether a particular grill or other cooking device can be used indoors, take it outside.

1. Fireplace

Naturally an actual woodstove would be the obvious way you could cook off-grid, but if you only have a traditional fireplace, don’t worry! If it’s cool enough to start a fire, you can easily cook in your regular fireplace.

2. DIY alcohol stoves

Alcohol-fueled stoves are easy to make at home and cheap to use. These types of stoves are super portable and can be quite small, making them popular among campers and backpackers. They burn hot and can easily heat up a pot of water quite large compared to the stove itself.

3. Propane camp stove

Most campers probably have at least one propane camp stove. Even stores like Walmart or Target sell them. These stoves tend to work very well and are pretty easy to use. The only downside is that you will need to keep canisters of propane on hand and if you run out, you are out of luck.

4. Versatile ‘Crisis Cooker’

Unlike a propane camp stove, this handy portable device lets you use not only propane but also wood or charcoal. It works great with propane but in a pinch will allow you to boil, grill, bake or fry using other heating sources. For example, because of its unique design, you can cook a meal with only six briquettes. Wood chunks work, too.

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5. Campfire

A great way to cook up a meal is just to make a fire outside. You can either build a campfire in a safe area or build a dedicated fire pit for cooking. In good weather it can be a lot of fun to gather around a fire in the backyard and make a meal with family or friends around. As for cooking techniques you could make a spit, build a rack for grilling or go the route of using a Dutch oven. Click here to learn how to cook with a Dutch oven.

6. Rocket stove. The rocket stove is an efficient option that uses only bricks and wood and can be assembled in a short amount of time. You will still be able to use all of your other normal kitchen equipment with this stove. The other beauty of the rocket stove is that it doesn’t just have to be used in a survival situation; it can also be used as a temporary backup on normal days when your regular kitchen stove breaks down. The downside: It’s not portable.

7. Charcoal grills

Grilling or barbequing isn’t just for summer events. A charcoal grill has the advantage of you also being able to use it for a wood fire if you don’t have briquettes. The downside is that grills tend to be rather large.

8. Dedicated outdoor oven/outdoor kitchen

Everyone can benefit from having an outdoor kitchen area, but especially those who live in rural areas. A dedicated outdoor oven (whether it’s an old wood stove, masonry stove, etc.) heated with wood or propane makes cooking more enjoyable and it’s always reassuring to know that there is always a way to cook outside. Consider building an outdoor kitchen area or at least have the oven covered with a simple structure. A big benefit of having an off-grid outdoor kitchen is that you can still cook up big meals in summer without heating up your house.

How do you prefer to cook when you have no power? Please share your comments and your favorite easy off-grid recipes below!

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Iran Hacks Into U.S. Power Grid (And What They Stole Should Frighten You)

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Iran Hacks Into U.S. Power Grid (And What They Stole Should Frighten You)Iranian hackers have successfully penetrated America’s power grid and accessed passwords and engineering drawings of power plants, and security experts say it’s only a matter of time before such an attack leads to widespread blackouts, the Associated Press reported.

In fact, hackers from Iran and other countries have infiltrated America’s power grid at least a dozen times over the past decade, gaining enough “remote access to control the operations networks” that run the power grid, experts told AP.

“If the geopolitical situation changes and Iran wants to target these facilities, if they have this kind of information it will make it a lot easier,” former Air Force cyberwarfare officer Robert M. Lee told AP.

The AP investigation found that the danger of cyberattack on the grid is far greater than the US government wants us to believe.

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Some of the other frightening details of the AP report include:

  • Some of the attacks over the past decade were so sophisticated that attackers could have gained control over portions of the grid or power plants, if they wanted to do so.
  • ISIS is trying to hack into America’s power grid.
  • Hackers took “detailed engineering drawings” of 71 “networks and power stations” from New York to California. That information shows “the precise location of devices that communicate with gas turbines, boilers and other crucial equipment attackers would need to hack specific plants.”
  • Some of the hackers stored their stolen data on unencryptedcomputers, meaning the data was easily accessible by others, too.

Security researcher Brian Wallace discovered that Iranian hackers had stolen passwords and detailed information from Calpine Corp., which operates 82 power plants in 18 states and in Canada.

“We’re still in this era where everybody believes [the power grid is] secure and it’s not,” Eireann Leverett of the Cambridge Center for Risk Studies told AP.

Fixing the damage done by a large cyberattack could take far too long. Many of the parts that would be damaged by an attack are custom-made, meaning there literally are no spare parts.

“In the case of a large cyberattack on the US we can’t be calling up vendors and having them say, ‘Sorry, it’s going to take us eight months to get this patched,’” Leverett pointed out.

We’ve been warned.

Are you concerned about a cyberattack on the power grid? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You Prepared For Blackouts This Winter? Read More Here.

The 1921 Event That Could Kill 280 Million Americans Today

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The 1921 Event That That Could Kill 280 Million Americans TodayOur sun is a very volatile star, with violent eruptions often occurring without us even knowing it.

Solar storms, defined by NASA as “eruptions of mass and energy from the solar surface, including prominences, flares, sunspots and coronal ejections,” are not a direct threat to us here on Earth’s surface, since our atmosphere serves as a protective shield from the explosions. In fact, most of the time, solar storms go unnoticed on Earth.

However, solar storms have the potential to cripple our power grid and communications technology, and, as a result, bring much of the modern way of life to a standstill. Here’s how:

The most powerful solar storms send coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that contain charged particles out into space. CMEs that strike our atmosphere could cause a disturbance of the Earth’s magnetic field, potentially disrupting satellites, interrupting navigation systems and communications systems and taking out power grids for entire regions.

The biggest solar storm in recorded history was the Carrington Event, named for Richard C. Carrington, who observed and recorded the 1859 solar event. It wiped out telegraph machines and sent auroras – normally only seen in places like Alaska and Canada — as far south as Hawaii, Cuba and even Africa.

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Another lesser-known solar superstorm occurred in the 20th century, however, and even though it was long before modern technology, it can give us a glimpse at the devastating effect a solar storm could have on our 21st century lifestyle.

On May 13, 1921, astronomers noted a huge sunspot with an estimated width of 94,000 miles and a length of 21,000 miles on the solar surface. Auroras were observed for the next few evenings across much of Europe, in the Eastern United States and in California.

More significantly, most of the East Coast experienced a communication blackout caused by the solar storm. That morning, the entire signal and switching system of the New York Central Railroad shut down due to current charges from the storm. The event also sparked a fire in the control tower at 57th Street and Park Avenue.

The 1921 Event That That Could Kill 280 Million Americans TodayA telegraph operator reported that his switchboard ignited, causing an entire building to soon become engulfed in flames. A similar report of a fire came from a telephone station in Sweden that morning, and the solar storm affected telephone, telegraph and cable traffic over most of Europe.

What does this 1921 event mean to us today? Aside from being fascinating historically, it portends the dire results of a modern solar storm. The impact of a storm today would be far more severe, considering our dependence on technology for so many aspects of our lives, including paying bills, buying groceries, sending emails and even pumping gas.

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American and European scientists have expressed concern that the plasma cloud from a solar superstorm could wipe out vast electronics networks and technologies, causing unpresented havoc. Without electricity, the entire modern-day financial infrastructure shuts down, as does the delivery system for food.

According to John Kappenman, an engineer at MetaTech Corporation, a California-based science and engineering company, a solar storm on the same level as the so-called Railroad Storm of 1921 would affect 150 million people across North America. Resulting magnetic storm currents also could damage transformers that would affect many others.

In all, losses could exceed $30 billion in lost salaries, spoiled food, business closures and other related effects of a huge solar storm. And those numbers could ratchet up dramatically if outages and other storm-related problems persisted for weeks.

Grid expert and Congressional EMP Commission member Peter Pry said in testimony this summer that a storm on par with the 1921 one “could kill up to 9 of 10 Americans through starvation, disease, and societal collapse” because the grid would be down for so long. That’s more than 280 million people. (Listen to Pry on Off The Grid Radio here.)

Experts agree that we may have only 24 hours warning before a storm collided with Earth. How can we prepare for a disaster? The answer is much the same as you would for any other natural disaster – by stockpiling food, water and other necessities.

In addition, it is wise to keep cash on hand, since banks will be unable to process withdrawals during a massive power outage.

If you would like to know more about solar storms or to monitor solar activity, visit SpaceWeather.com or NASA.gov.

Do you believe America is prepared for a major solar storm? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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