The National Security Agency (NSA) is apparently concerned that Anonymous will try to take down the nation’s electrical grid via a cyberattack, according to a new report.
Anonymous, however, says the claims are just fear-mongering.
Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the NSA, discussed the possibility of an Anonymous-led attack in meetings with the White House and other officials, according to the Wall Street Journal. Alexander has not publicly discussed the power supply angle, but has mentioned Anonymous’ ability to go after computer networks, the Journal said.
When asked for comment, an NSA spokeswoman said “it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to discuss any alleged comments or internal meetings.”
Anonymous, however, insisted that it has no plans to disrupt the electrical grid.
“Ridiculous! Why should Anonymous shut off power grid? Makes no sense! They just want to make you feel afraid,” according to a post on the AnonOps blog.
The NSA news comes amidst reports that Anonymous also had plans to shut down the Internet on March 31, something the group also denied. “GlobalBlackOut is another Fake Operation. No intention of #Anonymous to cut Internet,” @AnonOps tweeted today.
Indeed, that would be rather bizarre, given the fact that those associated with Anonymous have fought quite hard to maintain openness on the Web. The group was a vocal opponent against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), and has launched distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against groups attempting to shut down websites over copyright infringement, like Megaupload.
But while Anonymous might not have plans to take down the Internet or our electrical grid, the group has gone after the websites of U.S. agencies with whom it disagrees. In the wake of the Megaupload takedown, Anonymous launched successful DDoS attacks against the Department of Justice website and earlier this month, it also took down the CIA website.
This is not the first time the government has tangled with Anonymous, meanwhile. Back in October, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo said Anonymous is probably not yet organized enough to carry out a devastating attack on an critical infrastructure here in the U.S., but given time and resources, it might be possible.
Also last year, NATO called out Anonymous in a draft general report about information and national security. That report noted that “Anonymous is becoming more and more sophisticated and could potentially hack into sensitive government, military, and corporate files.” As a result, Anonymous breached NATO databases and stole about 1GB of data.
For more from Chloe, follow her on Twitter @ChloeAlbanesius.
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