How 30 Lines of Code Blew Up a 27-Ton Generator


The Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls Idaho

ON A PIERCINGLY cold and windy morning in March 2007, Mike Assante arrived at an Idaho National Laboratory facility 32 miles west of Idaho Falls, a building in the middle of a vast, high desert landscape covered with snow and sagebrush. He walked into an auditorium inside the visitors’ center, where a small crowd was gathering. The group included officials from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy, and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), executives from a handful of electric utilities across the country, and other researchers and engineers who, like Assante, were tasked by the national lab to spend their days imagining catastrophic threats to American critical infrastructure.

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