NSA: Anonymous may take down U.S. power grid in two years

NSA reportedly warning D.C. that Anonymous could develop SCADA exploits, cause blackouts

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Making Operation Global Blackout succeed would take a lot of organization, good timing and more refined attacks than Anonymous typically delivers, according to several security experts who scoff at the idea Anonymous could pull off an attack on all 13 DNS servers.

Even if it could, shutting down the Internet would alienate even Anonymous' most devoted fans and cut off Anonymous' own voice, making the protest look simply like a disaster rather than a calculated bit of political theater – Anonymous' preferred method of public communication.

Nothing is certain, of course, or even almost certain.

It's very likely, however, that Operation Global Blackout will never happen.

So far, Anonymous hasn't made any specific threats to attack the U.S. electric power grid or take any utilities offline.

Neither the WSJ story nor other coverage made any mention of the source of the warning or why the NSA thinks Anonymous would put U.S. utilities on its target list even if it were able to succeed in its attacks.

Much more able to pull off an attack would be China and Russia, both of which have long, successful histories of hacking into U.S.-based computer systems, mainly for espionage, not sabotage.

National players that would have the incentive to take out U.S. utilities just for the impact it would have – Iran, North Korea, for example – aren't able to pull off the attack either, the Journal notes.

The odds Anonymous will successfully attack electric utilities and shut off the power seem long. Given two years of lead time (and the poor security on both the data networks and SCADA control systems at most utilities) it's not much of a reach to believe Anonymous could take a few of them down.

Causing blackouts that would be huge problems for lots of those among "the 99%" as Anons and the Occupy movement describe ordinary citizens, is antithetical to Anonymous' general, much more populist approach to both protest and hacking.

That's not to say the little people don't sometimes get hurt in the process of Anonymous' attempts to accomplish other things. Until now, however, that hasn't been the main point.

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