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Lawmaker: Power Grid Vulnerable To Cyberattack

by Marianna Schmudlach / June 15, 2009 2:12 AM PDT

Hackers could bring down electrical grids serving entire regions of the U.S., leaving homes and businesses dark for months, Congressman says.

By Reuters
June 15, 2009 08:55 AM

WASHINGTON - Sophisticated hackers could bring down electrical grids serving an entire region of the United States, leaving homes and businesses dark for months, a lawmaker who specializes in cybersecurity issues said on Friday.

Rep. Jim Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat and a cybersecurity expert, praised President Barack Obama for raising the profile of efforts to fight cybercrime, including the expected naming of a cybersecurity czar to coordinate the effort.

Hackers have already penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and have stolen intellectual property, corporate secrets and money. In one incident, a bank lost $10 million in cash in a day, according Shawn Henry of the FBI's cybercrime unit.

"I'm most worried about the electric grid," Langevin said in an interview with Reuters.

"You could wipe out a whole section of the country's power grid through a cyberattack and we could essentially be without power for months," he said warning that generators destroyed in a cyberattack would be hard to quickly replace.


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