Gen. Keith Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency, has warned administration officials that Anonymous — the loosely organized, computer-hacking collective — could have the ability to knock out power stations within the next few years. That's according to The Wall Street Journal.
Independent hackers and cyber security researchers have demonstrated the ability to take control of the basic machinery that is built into many power plants and water treatment facilities.
This summer at Black Hat, an annual cyber security and hacking convention, Dillon Beresford, a researcher at NSS Labs, revealed a backdoor into programmable logic controllers, or PLCs, made by Siemens. These controllers, known as SCADA devices, are used as switches that control industrial equipment all over the world — including at power plants and some nuclear facilities.