According to a secret Congressional report that has only recently been disclosed, the American power grid is under constant threat of being hacked by foreign powers and malicious groups wishing to gain control of critical power systems. The Washington Free Beacon writes:
The report warns that hackers potentially affiliated with terrorist groups or rogue nations have the ability to insert harmful malware into the internal systems governing the U.S. grid, which increasingly are being hooked into the Internet.
These types of computer viruses are able to comb internal systems for private information in a clandestine manner; they can also be used to wrest control of certain computers away from their owners.
“In recent years, new threats have materialized as new vulnerabilities have come to light, and a number of major concerns have emerged about the resilience and security of the nation’s electric power system,” the report says. “In particular, the cyber security of the electricity grid has been a focus of recent efforts to protect the integrity of the electric power system.”
The threat is compounded by the revelation that many power companies are only living up to the “minimum standards” set for cyber security by the U.S. government.
The effects of a cyber attack on America’s power grid could resemble those of a high-altitude EMP burst, which we have written extensively about here. Read the whole report here: