If you think that the Chinese are only targeting Google, think again. It seems they are also focusing on the American power grid through teachers and students at various Chinese institutes. It is a pattern already seen in attacks on U.S. government and business Web sites. As reported by The New York Times, a military strategist told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 10: “Chinese researchers at the Institute of Systems Engineering of Dalian University of Technology published a paper on how to attack a small U.S. power grid sub-network in a way that would cause a cascading failure of the entire U.S.” When reached by telephone, a graduate engineering student in Liaoning, China said he and his professor had published “Cascade-Based Attack Vulnerability on the U.S. Power Grid” in an international journal called Safety Science last spring. He said he had simply been trying to find ways to enhance the stability of power grids by exploring potential vulnerabilities. Independent American scientists who read his paper said his work was a conventional technical exercise that in no way could be used to take down a power grid. The student said that he was an “emergency events management” expert and that he was “mainly studying when a point in a network becomes ineffective.” The paper notes the vulnerability of different types of computer networks to “intentional” attacks. The authors suggest that certain types of attacks may generate a domino-style cascading collapse of an entire network.

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