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[] Blue Cascades: critical-infrastructure-protection Uebung, Portland, 12.6.,

Exercise Exposes Vulnerabilities

JULY 08, 2002

Understanding the threats posed by cyberattacks against the nation's
critical telecommunications, energy and emergency infrastructures has
given way to learning about how failures in one industry segment can
affect other sectors.

That was the conclusion of the Blue Cascades critical-infrastructure
protection exercise that was held June 12 in Portland, Ore. A detailed
action plan based on the results of Blue Cascades is scheduled to be
completed this week.

The exercise was the second such regional critical-infrastructure
protection exercise sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Economic
Region, a public/private partnership created by five U.S. states and
three Canadian provinces. The first exercise, code-named Black Ice and
held in Salt Lake City in November 2000, demonstrated how the effects
of a major terrorist attack or natural disaster could be made
significantly worse by a simultaneous cyberattack.

"Blue Cascades and Black Ice centered on prolonged power outages that
were accompanied by natural gas infrastructure and telecommunications
failures stemming from unknown causes," said Paula Scalingi, former
director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Critical Infrastructure
Protection Office and now a private consultant. Scalingi, who took
part in both exercises, said response and reconstitution of services
was hampered by infrastructure interdependencies during both

The Pacific Northwest's infrastructure systems are highly integrated
with Canada's. For example, more than 80% of the region's natural gas
supply flows south from Canada through pipelines that are dependent on
IT-based control systems, prompting a need for what state and local
officials characterized as a multiyear effort to develop "a
disaster-resistant region."

"Sept. 11 demonstrated that U.S. intelligence cannot provide the
necessary alert and warning to prevent terrorists from striking," said
Scalingi. Instead, it's up to regional officials to prepare "to deal
with the unthinkable," she said.

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