60 MINUTES: Devices Controlling National Infrastructure Have Already Been Hacked
In a comprehensive investigation into the vulnerabilities of US critical systems, (including financial, utility and military infrastructures), 60 Minutes recently reported that some of the country's top security experts believe the US to be unprepared for the serious threats posed by targeted cyber attacks.
60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft spoke with retired Admiral Mike McConnell who, as former chief of national intelligence, oversaw the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency.
"If I were an attacker and I wanted to do strategic damage to the United States, I would either take the cold of winter or the heat of summer, I probably would sack electric power on the U.S. East Cost, maybe the West Coast, and attempt to cause a cascading effect. All of those things are in the art of the possible from a sophisticated attacker," McConnell explained.
"Do you believe our adversaries have the capability of bringing down a power grid?" Kroft asked.
"I do," McConnell replied.
Asked if the U.S. is prepared for such an attack, McConnell told Kroft, "No. The United States is not prepared for such an attack."
In addition to the potential for an attack on the utilities infrastructure, the report also discusses in-depth the current vulnerabilities of the banking and financial system, as well as military and defense computer networks, all of which are reported to be unprepared for or under-secured against the threats of hackers and international cyber attacks.