The Real Shocker in August

Categories: In the News.


I trust that you are doing well after the horrible August we had. In one month, we had two hurricanes wreak havoc through the Caribbean, Texas and Florida, forest fires ravaged the West and Canada, an 8.1 earthquake struck Mexico, the sun launched some of the largest solar flares towards us in years, and North Korea launched a missile over Japan in its most provocative action yet. Quite an eventful month!

emergency waterBut there is one event that happened in August that hardly got any attention, and it’s by far the most shocking, “Security firm Symantec is warning that a series of recent hacker attacks not only compromised energy companies in the US and Europe but also resulted in the intruders gaining hands-on access to power grid operations—enough control that they could have induced blackouts on American soil at will.

Lights OutI have talked many times about Ted Koppel’s book “Light’s Out” because it outlines the single largest vulnerability of the USA; our electric grid. Never before in history has a nation been so completely dependent upon electricity as we are. We live in a fantastic world of automation. Food and safe water are so plentiful that we never have to think about them. We are spoiled in so many ways, and we take it all for granted. But the truth is, without our electricity we are absolutely helpless. How many people could live through the winter without heat? How would we get food without our wonderful distribution system? How would people ensure their family is drinking safe drinking water if they couldn’t trust their tap water?

As a country, our electric grid is our single biggest strength, and our single biggest weakness.

We are vulnerable to a massive blackout that would cover a multi-State area and could last for months or even longer. This could happen to us in multiple ways; a cyber-attack, an EMP or a very large solar flare. All are very possible, but now the cyber-attack scenario is not a theory anymore. Symantec went on to report that they “found that the hackers obtained what they call operational access: control of the interfaces power company engineers use to send actual commands to equipment like circuit breakers, giving them the ability to stop the flow of electricity into US homes and businesses.”

There’s a difference between being a step away from conducting sabotage and actually being in a position to conduct sabotage … being able to flip the switch on power generation,” says Eric Chien, a Symantec security analyst. “We’re now talking about on-the-ground technical evidence this could happen in the US, and there’s nothing left standing in the way except the motivation of some actor out in the world.

While Hurricane Harvey and Irma were devastating to the regions that we’re hit, the devastating impact on these areas will be nothing compared to a massive, long-term blackout. The reason is simple; when a small localized event happens, such as a hurricane, the rest of the USA can mobilize to help the affected area. This is how our emergency response system is set up.

But if a very large area and millions of people are affected, it becomes extremely difficult, if not impossible to respond effectively to the affected area.

In “Light’s Out”, Ted Koppel says, “There are emergency preparedness plans in place for earthquakes and hurricanes, heat waves and ice storms. There are plans for power outages of a few days affecting as many as several million people. But if a highly populated area was without electricity for a period of months or even weeks, there is no master plan for the civilian population.

This is the real threat to our safety and our way of life, and politicians seem to be completely unaware of this threat. It’s up to you and I individually to be prepared for such an event. And we need to get the word out to as many people as possible about this.

To this end, I have created a new, educational online class called “It’s Been 4 Days Without Electricity. Now What?” I encourage you to watch this online class. See it here.


The Survival Still is the number one product you should own in order to be prepared for an emergency.


  1. Candace Gates

    Why doesn’t our county (US) begin burying our powerlines? Would this help us in and EMP attack, to not lose our electric grid?

  2. PT

    Thanks for the info. My area did have a complete blackout in early August which the electric company could not explain. I had a hunch someone was messing around trying out their ‘skills of havoc’ Also we know that major geological activity occurs after an eclipse, so hopefully the still arrives before the next significant event..

  3. Chuck

    HI Glenn: Glad you survived the collision satisfactorily. By the way, traffic engineers are no longer calling the interaction involving moving motor vehicles “accidents.” They are officially “collisions.” The word “accident” presupposed a sort of deus ex machina type of event whereas in truth, there is an element of negligence in any kind of interaction involving a moving motor vehicle. Short of a meteor striking your car or your car falling into a crevasse created by an earthquake or being sucked up in a tornado, almost every other kind of episode involves negligence somewhere.

    “The brakes failed.” Well, duh, you know you are supposed to have them checked regularly. “The transmission fell out of the car.” Well, either there was a failure on the assembly line to properly install the transmission or some dodo worked on it and didn’t know what he was doing.

    Anyway, semantics aside, glad you survived the collision without injury, although I’ll bet you had a couple of sore spots the next day or two.

    Regarding the attacks on the grid system. If we don’t talk about it, it won’t happen, right? In order of descending impact on us I list an EMP attack, a CME event and a grid attack. I discount a massive nuclear missile attack simply because even the nut job in North Korea doesn’t want to die and he knows that if he launches a nuclear missile attack on the U.S. his country will disappear and he will along with it, I don’t care how deep his bunker is. Eventually he will want to come out and there will be nothing left to come out to. A dirty bomb attack is a definite possibility but I think that it would be like a massive hurricane or huge tornado. Its effects would be limited to the cities so attacked and the rest of the county would manage to carry on. I don’t discount the impact a nuclear attack on NY, Chicago, Washington DC, LA and SFO would have on the country but the country would carry on and speaking for myself only, perhaps the country might even be better off politically with those five cities out of the picture. Each of them certainly seems to be marching to a totally different drummer from the rest of the country.

    The EMP event I fear the most is a single missile fired from a ship off the coast of Mexico, Central America or northern South America. A tramp steamer could innocuously arrive on station several hundred miles off the coast, launch a single rocket to explode over Kansas at about 350 miles altitude and the rogue country launching it would have plausible deniability that they had nothing to do with it.

    We would be thrust back to the early 18th century without, for many of us, the life skills that everyone had that lived then. For instance, it has been more than 50 years since I saddled a horse. That was a skill probably 98% of the male population and a large percent of the female population possessed in the early 18th century. And, of course, that assumes I could get my hands on a horse that didn’t belong to somebody else who didn’t want to let it go.

    My wife is a skilled seamstress but she doesn’t know how to card wool and spin it into yarn. If she had a loom she could probably weave cloth, but I don’t have a clue as to how to build a loom. I guess eventually I could get the wool off a sheep with a pair of scissors, but it would be a long, tiring struggle. First I would have to acquire the sheep. I could kill and skin game, but unless one is living in a remote area, hunting game is going to be a fool’s errand in any of the more populous states or even not so populous states that are only a week or ten days walk from a major city. I feel competently prepared for any emergency short of those three and I don’t know how anyone can be adequately prepared for any one of them short of having tons of money to build a remote cabin next to a large national forest not far from a small town and stock the cabin with lots of goodies contained in a bomb proof underground hidden bunker. Nobody that I know has that or at least if they do they haven’t mentioned it to me.

    Thanks for the update on the grid hacking. I had heard about it, but just sort of in passing. Certainly didn’t get as much air time as the latest police chase through the streets of LA which is almost a nightly occurrence.

    • Wow Chuck! That’s quite the comment! I think you spent more time writing this comment than I did writing the original article. Thank you for the kind words and for the thoughtful comments. However it happens, I see a massive, long-term blackout as the single greatest threat to the USA (and thus, most other countries). I personally think that it will happen by cyber-attack, but eventually, it will come from the sun. Thanks again Chuck!

  4. David

    Great presentation, Glenn. I have been following you now for a couple of years without pulling the trigger on a survival still. However, considering the August you outlined above and after watching the video, today just seemed like the day to make that decision. I ordered a kit for my wife to give me for my birthday. 😉
    Thanks again for everything you do!
    Broken Arrow, OK

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