Spies Penetrated USA's Electrical Grid, say NatSec Officials

American national security officials say spies from China, Russia, and other countries have penetrated the US electrical grid with software apps that could be used to remotely disrupt the system, according to this WSJ article.

The intruders haven't sought to damage the power grid or other key infrastructure, but officials warned they could try during a crisis or war.

"The Chinese have attempted to map our infrastructure, such as the electrical grid," said a senior intelligence official. "So have the Russians."

The espionage appeared pervasive across the U.S. and doesn't target a particular company or region, said a former Department of Homeland Security official. "There are intrusions, and they are growing," the former official said, referring to electrical systems. "There were a lot last year."

Many of the intrusions were detected not by the companies in charge of the infrastructure but by U.S. intelligence agencies, officials said. Intelligence officials worry about cyber attackers taking control of electrical facilities, a nuclear power plant or financial networks via the Internet.

Authorities investigating the intrusions have found software tools left behind that could be used to destroy infrastructure components, the senior intelligence official said. He added, "If we go to war with them, they will try to turn them on."

Officials said water, sewage and other infrastructure systems also were at risk.

Our sewage systems? Oh no, not the dreaded rain of communist poo! Anyway: FUD or legitimate fear? Hash it out in the comments.

Electricity Grid in U.S. Penetrated By Spies (Wall Street Journal via @oxbloodruffin)