Cyber security experts agree on many things, and one of the more recent themes is the US will face a paralyzing cyber attack against the power grid:

The attack scenario described by Business Blackout illustrates the effects of a malware-based attack on systems that controls the national power grid. The attack causes an electrical blackout that plunges 15 US states and principal cities, including New York City and Washington DC, into darkness. Nearly 93 million people will remain without power in the scenario hypothesized by the study.

The attackers spread the ‘Erebos’ Trojan through the network with the effect of compromising the electricity generation control rooms in several locations in the Northeastern United States.

According to the researchers, the attack will cause health and safety systems to fail, disrupting water supplies as electric pumps fail. The chaos will reign causing the failure of main services, including transportation. The malware is able to infect the Internet and search and compromise 50 generators that it will destroy, causing prolonged outages in the region.

The total of claims paid by the insurance industry has been estimated to be included in the interval comprised between $21.4b and $71.1b, depending on the evolution of the scenarios designed by the researchers.

The researchers involved in the simulation have calculated the economic losses could range from $243 million to $1 trillion, depending on the number of components in the power grid compromised by the attack.