By John Markoff and David Barboza
The New York Times
March 20, 2010
It came as a surprise this month to Wang Jianwei, a graduate engineering
student in Liaoning, China, that he had been described as a potential
cyberwarrior before the United States Congress.
Larry M. Wortzel, a military strategist and China specialist, told the
House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 1o that it should be concerned
because "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, Mr. Wang said he and his professor had indeed
published "Cascade-Based Attack Vulnerability on the U.S. Power Grid" in
an international journal called Safety Science last spring. But Mr. Wang
said he had simply been trying to find ways to enhance the stability of
power grids by exploring potential vulnerabilities.
"We usually say 'attack' so you can see what would happen," he said. "My
emphasis is on how you can protect this. My goal is to find a solution
to make the network safer and better protected." And independent
American scientists who read his paper said it was true: Mr. Wang's work
was a conventional technical exercise that in no way could be used to
take down a power grid.
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