Here is a scary report — electrical power grids shut off by hackers demanding money using the Internet.

Ted Bridis of the AP is reporting:

Hackers literally turned out the lights in multiple cities after breaking into electrical utilities and demanding extortion payments before disrupting the power, a senior CIA analyst told utility engineers at a trade conference.

All the break-ins occurred outside the United States, said senior CIA analyst Tom Donahue. The U.S. government believes some of the hackers had inside knowledge to cause the outages. Donahue did not specify what countries were affected, when the outages occurred or how long the outages lasted. He said they happened in “several regions outside the United States.”

“In at least one case, the disruption caused a power outage affecting multiple cities,” Donahue said in a statement. “We do not know who executed these attacks or why, but all involved intrusions through the Internet.”

Unfortunately, the CIA doesn’t seem to want to verify where this happened at.

I did a Google news search and there are power outages being reported all over, but most notably in Africa and Pakistan.

If anyone else cares to speculate, a link to Google and power outages can be seen, here.

Problem is power outages happen all the time and I’m not sure if the search reveals any unusual activity.

Of course, the CIA will not confirm or deny exactly which outages were caused by hackers.

Apparently, the CIA official announced this at a SANS conference in New Orleans on Thursday. Information Week has more information on this, here.

Nonetheless, if power grids can be shut down using the Internet, it makes me wonder how secure we really are sometimes?

Last summer shutting down power grids was part of the plot in the movie, “Live Free or Die Hard” starring Bruce Willis.

AP article (courtesy of SF Gate), here.

Be Sociable, Share!