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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