In the past eight months, federal authorities have issued public warnings about foreign hackers penetrating the U.S. power grid and other critical infrastructure. Cybersecurity experts say the intent is to plant digital grenades in those systems until they decide to pull the pin.
These attacks are from an enemy who may never step on U.S. soil. But they could cripple vital systems like electricity, food, water and manufacturing.
"Right now, we are tracking about eight different teams that specifically target industrial networks," said Robert Lee, founder and CEO of Dragos Inc.
Lee spent five years working at the National Security Agency and Pentagon Cyber Command before forming Dragos Inc.
Dr.Peter Pry, executive director for the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, says:
"This isn't a sideshow," he said. "This is the way the primary way our enemies would come after us in a future war, cyber, physical sabotage and nuclear EMP attack."
Pry worked on the U.S. commission assessing the threat of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, which would wipe out electrical systems.
EMP Could Kill 90 Percent of Americans Within One Year
As an example, he says a country like North Korea could target the U.S. by transporting a nuclear weapon over the south polar region, then detonating it to create a high-altitude EMP.
A Congressional report shows such an attack could shut down the U.S. power grid indefinitely. That could lead to the deaths of up to 90 percent of all Americans within a year.
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