Washington: The notorious Internet hacking group, Anonymous, may soon have the ability to attack the entire US power grid, the head of the country’s National Security Agency has warned.
General Keith Alexander warned about an emerging ability of cyber attackers to disable or even damage computer networks within the next two years.
He relayed his concerns over the growing threat at a White House meeting last week.
According to The Wall Street Journal, General Alexander’s warning signals a growing federal concern over the capabilities of Anonymous, the hacker group behind high-profile cyber assaults against US government and corporate targets such as Visa Inc, MasterCard Inc and eBay Inc's PayPal service.
The group has never listed a power blackout as a goal, but some federal officials believe Anonymous is headed in a more disruptive direction.
“It's a real threat,” the paper quoted James Lewis, a cybersecurity specialist at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, as saying.
“You want to occupy Wall Street? How about turn Wall Street off? Even for a day,” he added.
According to a formal official, General Alexander’s discussions stemmed from a broader policy concern over how to deter adversaries in cyberspace.
Groups like Anonymous are particularly difficult to deter because they are, indeed, anonymous and don’t have clear interests that can be used to deter aggression in cyberspace in the way a country’s government would.
Other officials at the White House meeting, which was headed by John Brennan, deputy national security adviser, said it would take a little more time for Anonymous to obtain such a capability, closer to three to five years, the former official added.
First Published: Thursday, February 23, 2012, 14:13