NSA head: Anonymous could cause power blackouts

The hacker group Anonymous has been seen by most as a major annoyance. They have been on a tear recently with a series of cyber attacks on a number of web sites, including US government run sites such as the FBI and the Justice Department. They have been accused of lifting personal information as well as emails from a large number of companies and government departments. Most recently, Anonymous claimed to have hacked into an FBI conference call.

But is Anonymous even more dangerous than we think? That's what General Keith Alexander, the current director of the National Security Agency, believes. The Wall Street Journal reports that General Alexander believes that Anonymous could gain the ability to hack into the nation's power grid within a year or two. As a result, the group could cause power outages in the US.

The report is based on unnamed sources. General Alexander has yet to comment publicly on his beliefs but the report says he has given his views in private talks with The White House and other government officials.

For its part, the story quotes unnamed electrical power company officials as saying that they are aware of cyber attacks on their systems. They add that the power companies have a number of back up systems that would restore power quickly if such a cyber attack were to happen.

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This appears to be a simple admission that many 'essential' utilities have inadequate security and are probably connected to networks that they shoulnd't be connected to.

Nothing more than a laboured attempt at scaremongering by the NSA. Also, if Anonymous managed to successfully cause power blackouts, then wouldn't this defeat the object somewhat; Power goes off, so does the PC's they're working from ?

Lunacy, sheer lunacy.

This article is ridiculous. Anon hacking the power grid? Really? The only thing those script kiddies know how to is DDOS and take advantage of unpatched code exploits.

Can't believe the story is spun this way.

If this is true, it exposes two things:
1. Some, or all, of our nation's power grid's physical controls are accessible via the net.
2. They are vulnerable.

Someone should inform the NSA that electricity is required to run a computer. I've known for quite some time their IQ prerequisites were low but It would appear they've done away with them permanently.

If you're not in the US, you really have no clue whats going on in the US. If you're in the US, you really have no clue whats going on outside of the US. That simple.

The US government is in a complete state of panic right now. Between the "occupy" movements, "anonymous", Russia getting ****ed about the US putting anti nuke bases almost surrounding the southern half of their country, Iran wanting to blow the hell out of anyone getting in their way (which the US is in a big way, right there with the UK), election season coming up, the economy continuing to go to ****, and the MPAA and RIAA trying to muscle their way around the country and push other countries around, I don't blame the US government for freaking out.

The United States are weaker and more vulnerable to anything any other person or country would want to do right now than any time before, and if change doesn't happen right now there will be riots, and more breaking out very soon.

Last but not least, let me say this: Every single angle the US government has examined so far is WRONG and will only continue to destroy the economy, suppress the people until they riot, and give "Occupy" and "anonymous" more reason to continue pushing.

I am not the 1%. You don't know me, so don't even try.

We had a power outage for about 50 min 2 nights ago, so I got my UPS back out and thought I'd ACTUALLY try to configure it properly this time... Being honest, after finding out that the input/ouput voltage/frequency can be changed from the internal web server of the UPS, I'm tempted to get it the **** out my house.
If a hacker gets in and changed the input voltage to 110v, instant explosion... Just think if such a possibility exists with the real big heavy duty stuff (and for comparison, this UPS I have is by GE digital energy, who do happen to also do the very big heavy duty stuff.)

So could a massive earthquake, Stolen semi's rigged with RC and explosives!

So, when they DO take out the power... they take out the internet in that area too... so?? This is just the government finding another way to display their incompetence?

Maybe they rather hack into facebook and scheme legit monies from people? maybe ANOTHER UNNAMED NOT-YET-FORMED group will take out the power grid? they may have solar panel and wind mill CEO's behind their motives. Yah. tin hats everywhere.

this makes no sense. it's another government agency creating more imaginary problems. keep the masses scared - keep them complacent.

This just in: America could start a war and kill thousands upon thousands of people. Beware of the blackouts.

Epic0range said,
I don't get why they could do it in a year or two and not now?

All their machines are still running XP. Support ends for XP in a year or two
At that point, hackers will be able to email the secretary of the power station company, she'll open the "funniestcuedogever.exe" file from "You best Anonymous Friend". That'll allow anonymous to have remote access to her machine, giving access to all the files needed to VPN into the machines running at an actual power plant. They're all running windows 95 machines, and proceed to winnuke them all, and then ATH0+++ the dialup modems connecting the outside world thus stopping officals getting back into the power station and the result will be a melt down.

or trinnity could just hack the matrix, use ssh exploit ...

One thing is for sure though; General Keith Alexander, the current director of the National Security Agency does not think their infrastructure is secure and rather then secure it he's just crossing his fingers and hoping to god that the anonymous don't target them but expects to be a target in a couple of years. Sad times when a national security general doesn't have the know how to be confident that he can help secure something so important as the national grid.

satukoro said,
Mild power outages are worth not having big brother watching over our shoulder.

Mild? heck remember when 1 little screwup in the systems took out much of the eastern seaboard for a few days about 10 years back?

Epic0range said,

Mild? heck remember when 1 little screwup in the systems took out much of the eastern seaboard for a few days about 10 years back?

Ah, I remember that. Well, would you rather not be able to use the internet for a few days or would you rather not have any privacy online for years at a time.

satukoro said,
Ah, I remember that. Well, would you rather not be able to use the internet for a few days or would you rather not have any privacy online for years at a time.
I don't see what one has to do with the other.

Memnochxx said,
I don't see what one has to do with the other.
We either allow Anonymous to continue their work in defending internet freedom by committing such acts in protest against the US govt., or we allow the US govt and various politicians to continue proposing such treachery. Maybe I have too much confidence in Anonymous, but who knows.

RangerLG said,
My main questions is why are grids on an outside accessible network anyway? It should be all be internal.

with no ssh or remote desktop ability either.

RangerLG said,
My main questions is why are grids on an outside accessible network anyway? It should be all be internal.
So they can gotomypc and work from home? I agree entirely: keep that stuff OFF of anything connected to external networks. Keep it inside.

RangerLG said,
My main questions is why are grids on an outside accessible network anyway? It should be all be internal.

I agree. My best theory is that they use the Internet to communicate between different powergrid-providers, to handle overuse and over-production in realtime.

Every single person involved with Anonymous needs to be arrested, disconnected from the internet the rest of their life, and thrown in jail for a good amount of time. Complete morons.

bgjerlow said,
Every single person involved with Anonymous needs to be arrested, disconnected from the internet the rest of their life, and thrown in jail for a good amount of time. Complete morons.

Good luck with that. You have no idea how many people did anything 'related' to Anonymous.

Ambroos said,

Good luck with that. You have no idea how many people did anything 'related' to Anonymous.

Mr Snuggles. A cat so I hear and lots of lives. Smart and devious too.

bgjerlow said,
Every single person involved with Anonymous needs to be arrested, disconnected from the internet the rest of their life, and thrown in jail for a good amount of time. Complete morons.
I'd be blaming the engineers/people who connected the power grid to the internet.

bgjerlow said,
Every single person involved with Anonymous needs to be arrested, disconnected from the internet the rest of their life, and thrown in jail for a good amount of time. Complete morons.

Good job getting suckered into the propaganda machine. "Complete moron".

bgjerlow said,
Every single person involved with Anonymous needs to be arrested, disconnected from the internet the rest of their life, and thrown in jail for a good amount of time. Complete morons.

That would be well over 2000 people going by the last time I was in their IRC rooms.

bgjerlow said,
Every single person involved with Anonymous needs to be arrested, disconnected from the internet the rest of their life, and thrown in jail for a good amount of time. Complete morons.

Who would you classify as "involved with Anonymous"? "Anonymous" has many definitions and has been involved in a lot of causes. 4chan users? Scientology protestors? Lulzsec? Any "hacker" who uses the term "Anonymous"? DDoS noobs?

cybertimber2008 said,
I'd be blaming the engineers/people who connected the power grid to the internet.

That's like saying the cops are to blame when someone is murdered. Maybe we should blame the people that commit the crime.

Xenosion said,

Good job getting suckered into the propaganda machine. "Complete moron".

Good job getting sucked into the Anonymous propaganda machine yourself
I have no respect for people who support Anonymous. Anon are criminals, and they're even putting other peoples lives at stake sometimes. They need to get shut down. Doesn't matter if we get them all, as long as we get the top ones down, the others will eventually stop when they see what can possibly be awaiting them if they continue. A term I've found fitting for Anon is "Internet Terrorists".

Hey kid.

You're 17, you're an idiot, and have no clue whats going on in the world.

Go enjoy a spoon fed bowl of shut the **** up.

Kelxin said,
Hey kid.

You're 17, you're an idiot, and have no clue whats going on in the world.

Go enjoy a spoon fed bowl of shut the **** up.


The only thing you got right is that I'm 17. I'm not an idiot, and i do have a clue on whats going on in the world. Also, I'm entitled to have my own opinion. Little thing called freedom of speech

Also, it's amazingly ironic how you call me a 'kid', when you end your reply to me with such a immature last sentence/remark.

bgjerlow said,

The only thing you got right is that I'm 17. (So, an idiot)
I'm not an idiot (believe me, you are, it's not your fault, you're just young),
and i do have a clue on whats going on in the world. (no, you don't)
Also, I'm entitled to have my own opinion. (not according to the elections)
Little thing called freedom of speech (Which they are desperately trying to rip away from you, with which you're completely laying down and taking it. Worse yet, defending it.)

Also, it's amazingly ironic (it's just ironic, and not even that much so)
how you call me a 'kid', (you are a kid)
when you end your reply to me with such a immature last sentence/remark. (Ad-hominem's aren't required here, but you are just a kid)

---
I don't normally do this, but I really feel inclined to at least attempt to help you.
If you want to appear to be smart, don't let stupidity go unchecked.

bgjerlow said,

The only thing you got right is that I'm 17. (So, an idiot)
I'm not an idiot (believe me, you are, it's not your fault, you're just young),
and i do have a clue on whats going on in the world. (no, you don't)
Also, I'm entitled to have my own opinion. (not according to the elections)
Little thing called freedom of speech (Which they are desperately trying to rip away from you, with which you're completely laying down and taking it. Worse yet, defending it.)

Also, it's amazingly ironic (it's just ironic, and not even that much so)
how you call me a 'kid', (you are a kid)
when you end your reply to me with such a immature last sentence/remark. (Ad-hominem's aren't required here, but you are just a kid)

---
I don't normally do this, but I really feel inclined to at least attempt to help you.
If you want to appear to be smart, don't let stupidity go unchecked.

This is the type of propaganda that the US government needs to gain support for the Internet Kill Switch they keep batting around.

I bet the response from congress will be: We need a way to completely cut off the population from the Internet because this might happen! Instead of the more obvious: Why would power plants be vulnerable from the Internet and how do we secure them so that is not the case?

Shadrack said,
This is the type of propaganda that the US government needs to gain support for the Internet Kill Switch they keep batting around.

I bet the response from congress will be: We need a way to completely cut off the population from the Internet because this might happen! Instead of the more obvious: Why would power plants be vulnerable from the Internet and how do we secure them so that is not the case?

I agree. All the government does anymore seems to be trying to pit one group against the other so that they can exploit the situation to get their way... And it appears this starts at the top unfortunately. It certainly seems to have become FAR more common after Obama walked into the White House.

M_Lyons10 said,

I agree. All the government does anymore seems to be trying to pit one group against the other so that they can exploit the situation to get their way... And it appears this starts at the top unfortunately. It certainly seems to have become FAR more common after Obama walked into the White House.

Did you forget who was in the White House in 2001? The Patriot Act, a MAJOR exploitation of the American people using fear to get it pushed through with little resistance, did all it needed to do to take away our rights and empower big government to do just about anything they want. If that's not "exploiting a situation to get their way" then I'd like to hear it.

Tim Dawg said,
Did you forget who was in the White House in 2001? The Patriot Act, a MAJOR exploitation of the American people using fear to get it pushed through with little resistance, did all it needed to do to take away our rights and empower big government to do just about anything they want. If that's not "exploiting a situation to get their way" then I'd like to hear it.

Did you forget that Obama and congress have done nothing to overturn the patriot act? Take the Democrat lapel pin off for a second and think.

There is no Anonymous, that's the nice thing about it. Everyone is Anonymous and no-one is Anonymous. Saying Anonymous could cause power blackouts basically means there is someone in the world who could cause power blackouts. So that basically means nothing. It's just another sad attempt to demonize people fighting for a free internet.

Ambroos said,
There is no Anonymous, that's the nice thing about it. Everyone is Anonymous and no-one is Anonymous. Saying Anonymous could cause power blackouts basically means there is someone in the world who could cause power blackouts. So that basically means nothing. It's just another sad attempt to demonize people fighting for a free internet.

Didn't a law just pass too allowing military to handle civilians without their rights? All this just doesn't seem to be a good mix.