Friday, August 31, 2012

General Keith Alexander scaremongers about Anonymous hacking (NSA)

General Keith Alexander scaremongers about Anonymous hacking (NSA)

by Graham Smith,
February 22nd 2012

Hacking group Anonymous could shut down the entire U.S. power grid, head of national security warns

U.S. government believes Anonymous is moving in a more disruptive direction

Computer hackers could have the ability to take down the entire U.S. electrical grid within the next two years, the head of the National Security Agency has warned.

General Keith Alexander expects the ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous to be able to bring about a limited national power outage through a cyber attack.

He has relayed his concerns over the growing threat during a White House meeting last week, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Warning: General Keith Alexander expects the ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous to be able to bring about a limited national power outage through a cyber attack

Although he has made no public statement regarding Anonymous in particular, cyber attacks represent an increasing security risk for the U.S. government.

General Alexander has previously warned of the ongoing determination of hacker groups to expose institutional corruption, and now believes Anonymous is moving in a more disruptive direction.

James Lewis, a cyber security specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who is currently researching the group, told the Journal: ‘It’s a real threat. You want to occupy Wall Street? How about turn Wall Street off? Even for a day.’

Anonymous has never indicated a widespread power outage as a goal, and a post on a blog linked to the organisation claims the U.S. government is trying to discredit them.

It reads: ‘Anonymous attracted the attention of the National Security Agency.

‘In private meetings at the White House, NSA director General Keith Alexander warned that in a year or two the group could attack the energy grid and shut off power for millions.

‘Ridiculous! Why should Anonymous shut off power grid? Makes no sense! They just want to make you feel afraid.’

But last week Anonymous announced Operation Global Blackout, a plan to shut down the Internet on March 31.

Security experts, however, rate the group’s chances of taking the web offline as minimal.

Anonymous’ ability to take down the power grid is also thought to be slim.

Grid officials say they regularly face cyber attacks on their systems, and invest a lot of time making sure they are as secure as possible.

White House spokesman Caitlin Hayden said the government ‘has made cybersecurity a top priority, and we are working tirelessly to protect ourselves from the threats we face, whether they come from other nations, cyber criminals, or from stateless activist hacker groups’.

Earlier this month, Anonymous claimed responsibility for an attack on the CIA’s website that disabled it for nine hours.

The group targeted the personal details of more than 46,000 people in attacks on government websites including

Anonymous hackers also intercepted a highly-sensitive telephone conversation between Scotland Yard officers and the FBI and posted it online.

As well as targeting the CIA, the hackers broke into several Alabama law-enforcement websites, stealing criminal records, addresses and social security numbers to raise awareness of ‘racist legislation’ affecting illegal immigrants.

The group warned it would destroy the data, saying: ‘Because of the possible cost of lives and money to regular citizens, we are deleting this data and are seeking to make it known you not only have shown zero regard for immigrants, but for the very citizens that live in the great state of Alabama.’

Hackers claiming to be affiliated with Anonymous have launched a spate of attacks on law enforcement websites in recent weeks, hitting such cities as Salt Lake City, Boston, Syracuse, N.Y. and Greece.

The collective of activists, pranksters and hackers have also targeted financial institutions such as Visa and MasterCard, as well as the Church of Scientology.

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