Will Americans Be Knocked Back Into The Dark Ages? U.S. Power Grid Ripe For Attack

Sunday, July 17, 2011
By Paul Martin

U.S. Power Grid: Ripe for Cyber-Attacks

By James Rogers
TheStreet.com

Power cut to businesses and hospitals. The inability to heat homes in winter or cool them in summer. Debilitating blackouts. Signs of Armageddon? Maybe. But they’re also the potential results of a incapacitating cyber-attack on the nation’s power grids, an act that experts say could happen at any time.

“The U.S. government and the American people should be more concerned about this,” Rep. Jim Langevin (D., R.I), co-chair of the congressional cyber-security caucus, told TheStreet. “I don’t feel that the electric grid is nearly as secure as it needs to be.”

Despite new attempts to deliver cyber-security standards for power plants, legislators and security experts are warning of gaping holes that exist for hackers to exploit, further fueling concerns that critical U.S. infrastructures are at risk.

Langevin explained that a successful assault on the electric grid would dwarf recent attacks on corporations like Sony(SNE_), Lockheed Martin(LM_) and Sega, which resulted in compromised customer data, among other things.

Langevin says the the nightmare scenario resulting from parts of the grid knocked out could be devastating and wide-reaching. “It would affect the economy, and potentially, even cause loss of life,” he said. “Imagine, god forbid, that part of the country was without power in the middle of winter.”

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