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Cyber And Power Grid Security On Wednesday's Access Utah


Imagine a blackout lasting not days, but weeks or months. Tens of millions of people over several states are affected. For those without access to a generator, there is no running water, no sewage, no refrigeration or light. Food and medical supplies are dwindling. Devices we rely on have gone dark. Banks no longer function, looting is widespread, and law and order are being tested as never before. In his New York Times bestselling book “Lights Out,” longtime Nightline host Ted Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America’s power grid is not only possible but likely, that it would be devastating, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared.  Koppel reports that, the federal government, while well prepared for natural disasters, has no plan for the aftermath of an attack on the power grid.  In the absence of a government plan, some individuals and communities have taken matters into their own hands. Among the nation’s estimated three million “preppers,” Koppel introduces us to one whose doomsday retreat includes a newly excavated three-acre lake, stocked with fish, and a Wyoming homesteader so self-sufficient that he crafted the thousands of adobe bricks in his house by hand. Koppel also reports on the unrivaled disaster preparedness of the Mormon church, with its enormous storehouses, high-tech dairies, orchards, and proprietary trucking company – the fruits of a long tradition of anticipating the worst. But how, Koppel asks, will ordinary civilians survive? Ted Koppel joins us for the second half of Tuesday’s Access Utah.

In the first half we’ll ask Proofpoint CEO Gary Steele how to keep our data safe, especially on email, social media and mobile apps. Steele says that social media is the next frontier for cyber security threats.

Gary Steele brings a broad range of enterprise software experience to the company. Before joining Proofpoint, Mr. Steele served as the CEO of Portera, an applications company delivering solutions for the professional services industry. Under Mr. Steele's leadership, Portera raised more than $100M in capital from some of the leading venture capitalists including Kleiner Perkins, IVP, and American Express, and grew the business from its initial concept to $20M in revenue. Prior to Portera, Mr. Steele served as the vice president and general manager of the Middleware and Data Warehousing Product Group at Sybase, Inc., an organization of more than 350 people, spanning four geographies and generating $150M in revenue. In this capacity, he initiated and spearheaded all new Internet projects targeted at the enterprise. Mr. Steele's prior experience includes business development, marketing, and engineering roles at Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard. He holds a B.S. degree in computer science from Washington State University.

Ted Koppel is an American broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline from the program's inception in 1980 until his retirement in late 2005. After leaving Nightline, Koppel worked as managing editor for the Discovery Channel before resigning in 2008. Koppel is currently a senior news analyst for National Public Radio and contributing analyst to BBC World News America, and contributes to NBC News.

This episode of Access Utah first aired in November 2015. 

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.