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U.S. officials warns Anonymous could disrupt US power Grid

The director of the National Security Agency has warned that the Anonymous hackers could have the ability within a year or two to bring about a limited power outage through a Cyber Attack.

Gen. Keith Alexander, the agency's director, provided his assessment in meetings at the White House and in other private sessions, according to people familiar with the gatherings.

The group has never listed a power blackout as a goal, but some federal officials believe Anonymous is headed in a more disruptive direction. An attack on a network would be consistent with recent public claims and threats by the group. Last week, for instance, Anonymous announced a plan to shut down the Internet on March 31, which it calls Operation Global Blackout

Grid officials said their systems face regular attacks, and they devote tremendous resources to repelling invaders, whether from Anonymous or some other source. "The industry is engaged and stepping up widely to respond to emerging cyber threats," WSJ quoted as an industry official saying" "There is a recognition that there are groups out there like Anonymous, and we are concerned, as are other sectors."

Another industry official noted that the electric grid has a number of backup systems that allow utilities to restore power quickly if it is taken out by a cyberattack or other event."

Intelligence officials believe that, for now, the cyber threat to the power grid is relatively limited. The countries that could most quickly develop and use cyber means to destroy part of the grid—such as China and Russia—have little incentive to do it. Those who might have more incentive, like Iran or North Korea, don't have the capability.

U.S. intelligence officials already have found what they say is evidence of Chinese and Russian cyberspies snooping in computer systems that run the electric grid, possibly in preparation for a conflict with the U.S. The governments of China and Russia have denied any involvement.

A stateless group like Anonymous doesn't yet have that capability, officials say. But if the group's members around the world developed or acquired it, an attack on the power grid would become far more likely, according to cybersecurity experts.
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