Cyberspies have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, according to current and former national-security officials.
The spies came from China, Russia and other countries, these officials said, and were believed to be on a mission to navigate the U.S. electrical system and its controls. The intruders haven’t sought to damage the power grid or other key infrastructure, but officials warned they could try during a crisis or war.
Overseas examples show the potential havoc. In 2000, a disgruntled employee rigged a computerized control system at a water-treatment plant in Australia, releasing more than 200,000 gallons of sewage into parks, rivers and the grounds of a Hyatt hotel.
Last year, a senior Central Intelligence Agency official, Tom Donahue, told a meeting of utility company representatives in New Orleans that a cyberattack had taken out power equipment in multiple regions outside the U.S. The outage was followed with extortion demands, he said.
Last week, Senate Democrats introduced a proposal that would require all critical infrastructure companies to meet new cybersecurity standards and grant the president emergency powers over control of the grid systems and other infrastructure.
Wait a second…back up a second! The fact that the President’s party in the Senate is trying to pass legislation that would give the President emergency control over all critical infrastructure is burried in the middle of the article?!? I would think that is worth an article all its own! I’ve wondered why cyberwar and cybersecurity have suddenly become such big issues again with the election of Obama. I don’t want to sound conspiratorial, but could this be it? – post by TransTracker
The White House review of cybersecurity programs is studying ways to shield the electrical grid from such attacks, said James Lewis, who directed a study for the Center for Strategic and International Studies and has met with White House reviewers.