Theft of Relay Programming Laptops

Event Year: 2004 Reliability: Invalid
Country: United States
Industry Type: Power and Utilities

Date:  15 March 2004
Incident Report:
On or about the morning of Tuesday, March 2, 2004 person(s) yet unknown broke into offices located at (xxx location) and stole two laptop computers that were programmed to perform station relay testing. These two laptops contained the various relay vendor softwares. These relay softwares are common industry wide in North America. The software is also readily available from relay vendors.

It is important to understand that you cannot log on to the two computers to run any software unless you run a “crack program”, or have a valid user account on the PC and know the password. Having said that, a motivated hacker could crack the program and “plug and play” at any transformer station should they also break into a station’s relay room and have system knowledge of where and how to “plug and play”.  There is no remote access capabilities.

What makes this break-in and theft suspicious as to motive is that there were a number of other items that could be easily “fenced” as stolen property left in the open and only these two laptops were touched. This may or may not be a mere coincidence.

Local police were notified and (xxx location)‘s controlling authority was advised to be aware of any unusual relay activity. The (yyy location) was also made aware of this incident. To date, no unusual relay activity has been observed.