Monday, April 13, 2009
US Electricity Grid Compromised
How safe is the United States from an electricity grid take over? It all depends on who you ask. There are reports out now saying cyberspies have hacked into the U.S. electrical grid, leaving behind damaging software that could be used to disrupt the system.
The cyberspies are believed to be from China, Russia and other countries and were also believed to be on a mission to navigate the U.S. electrical system and its controls. In the past China has tried to map our infrastructure, such as the grid said a senior intelligence official.The Russians have also atempted this.
There was no specific company or region targeted in the most recent attack. A former Department of Homeland Security official said, "There are intrusions, and they are growing," the former official also said, referring to electrical systems. "There were a lot last year."
The U.S. intelligence agencies detected the majority of the breeches in the grids security. Intelligence officials worry about cyber attackers taking control of electrical facilities, a nuclear power plant or financial networks via the Internet.
Software tools have been found left behind, authorities investigating the intrusions believe that they were left there so the hackers could come back and turn them on in a time of war.
Specialists at the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, a nonprofit research institute, said attack programs search for openings in a network, much as a thief tests locks on doors. Once inside, these programs and their human controllers can acquire the same access and powers as a systems administrator.