Early last Monday morning, the entire Northern power grid of India went dark, leaving millions without power. But India’s blackout problems worsened on Tuesday as three of the country’s regional power grids collapsed, leaving over half the country without electricity for several hours.
“Hundreds of trains stalled across the country and traffic lights went out, causing widespread traffic jams in New Delhi. Electric crematoria stopped operating, some with bodies half burnt, power officials said. Emergency workers rushed generators to coal mines to rescue miners trapped underground,” reports the AP.
As the country’s economy continues to grow, many fear that its outdated infrastructure will not be able to keep up. According to the Washington Post, the blackout, which now constitutes the largest in world history, “[reinforced] concerns that the nation’s horribly inefficient power sector could undermine its long-term economic ambitions.”
For Pavan Duggar, leading expert on Cyberlaw in Asia, the blackouts represent an even bigger danger: the threat of cyber attacks on the country’s critical information infrastructure. “The Northern and Eastern Grid collapse brings to one’s mind the disastrous consequences that could face our nation, should our critical information infrastructure be attacked by a virus or computer contaminant like Stuxnet,” he writes in a guest column for Business Standard, India’s leading business daily.
Noting the fact that India does not have a dedicated national policy on cyber security, Duggar writes, “should a grid collapse takes place because of an attack from computer contaminants or viruses, or any deliberate intentional hacking of cybercrimes, then India is likely to have a tough challenge in its hands.” He urges the national government to take significant steps towards developing policies “that would inform citizens of what steps need to be taken, in the event of any cyber related emergencies.”
Send Word Now would also like to offer its support to any companies and organizations in India that were caught unprepared during last week’s outages. If your organization would like to request a provisional Send Word Now mass notification account to assist with your crisis response efforts, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will reach out to you immediately.