January 26: An evening with Ted Koppel

Join Women in Homeland Security, GTSC, & InfraGard for an unprecedented look at the impacts of a cyber attack on our electric grid.

World renowned and respected veteran reporter

Ted Koppel

Ted Koppel

joins us for a discussion of his close look at how our nation is — or is not — prepared for a devastating cyber attack.  We will also host a book-signing and have his book, “Lights Out” for sale during a reception after the talk.


Earlier this year, we learned of a hacking attack that vacuumed up the personnel files of more than twenty million current and former federal employees. Cybertheft is now measured in the billions of dollars. However, all the cyber-espionage and cybercrime we have seen to date pales in comparison to a strikingly unreported threat to life as we know it: a cyberattack on our power grid. In LIGHTS OUT (on sale October 27), longtime Nightline anchor Ted Koppel—recipient of 42 Emmys—reveals just how likely such an attack is, how calamitous it could be, and how unprepared our government is. “We think of the Internet as a positive force, but it can also be used as a weapon of mass destruction,” says Koppel. “A well-designed cyberattack on just one of the nation’s three electric power grids could be crippling to our national infrastructure and would have to be regarded as nothing less than an act of war.”

It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but in fact such an attack could be instantly and anonymously launched from a single laptop anywhere in the world. The impact on cities would be especially serious, with devastating food and water shortages after only days. In a previously classified letter, ten senior national security advisors warned that such an attack could knock out power in several states for a matter of months. A 2008 congressional commission concluded that only one in ten civilians would survive such an event.

Ted Koppel was incredulous when he learned how ill-prepared our government is, and became determined to dig deeper. In the course of his research he interviewed scores of national leaders across government and industry, often getting conflicting reports about whether there is an adequate plan for such a disaster, or whether there is any plan at all. Koppel spent time with members of America’s “prepper” movement, estimated at three million, as well as interviewing leaders of the Mormon Church, which is unrivaled in its disaster preparedness, boasting dozens of “bishop’s storehouses” stocked with food and other supplies. But how will ordinary civilians survive?

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