Early on, a controller at the Midwest Independent System Operator asked his counterpart at FirstEnergy why it hadn't reacted to a transmission line outage. The utility's technician replied:
"We have no clue. Our computer is giving us fits, too. We don't even know the status of some of the stuff around us."
That "stuff" included multi-megawatt power plants as well as connected high-voltage switching nodes and transmission lines. In a followup call, a regional power controller expressed frustration at lack of action:
"I called you guys like 10 minutes ago, and I thought you were figuring out what was gong on there."
But the same FirstEnergy operator was still running blind, paralyzed by mysterious computer problems, saying:
"Well, we're trying to. Our computer is not happy. It's not cooperating either."
Two questions seemingly haven't been answered yet: (1) Were any of those FirstEnergy networks connected to the Internet anywhere? (2) Were any of FirstEnergy's computer systems running unpatched, vulnerable Windows?
Want to place any bets? µ
But don't expect laptop prices
Vulnerability targets hardware created by Infineon Technologies
Expect something commercial in 2019
Ex-employees say bugs were stolen and used in future attacks