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Lawmakers address looming threat of cyber attacks

Lawmakers address looming threat of cyber attacks (SBG 5.18.16)

Some alarming testimony on Capitol Hill Wednesday about a looming threat: cyber attacks.Specifically, those targeting our nation's power grid.

Some experts say there are constant attempts and we aren't prepared.

How vulnerable are our nation's power grids and infrastructure? Can other nations or terror groups cripple entire cities, just through cyber attacks?

Chair of the Homeland Security Committee Ron Johnson (R- Wisconsin) told Sinclair the answer to those questions is yes and too few are paying attention.

"I just know these are real threats that we need to take seriously. We need to do everything we can to anticipate these and put in whatever protections for our electrical grid that we possibly can."

In 2003, when a "software glitch" triggered a massive blackout in the northeast, it paralyzed New York. Airports were shutdown, trains halted,12 people died and it took days to restore everyone's electricity.

Natural disasters also pose threats to the grid,and now the potential for true "attacks" on facilities sometimes secured by little more than chain link fence.

"A lot of people have been warning about it but not too many folks have been paying attention," said Ted Koppen, a veteran journalist who testified about his year-long research for the book "Lights out."

"We're good at reacting to crisis in the wake of 9/11, we spent trillions of dollars...and thousands, 10's of thousands of our men and women have gone overseas to fight two wars...we're not very good at preemptive action."

And it's not just a "what if," according to USA Today, which last year wrote there is a cyber or physical attack on the nation's grid "about once every four days."

"We are not taking the threat seriously!" Sen. Johnson exclaimed during the hearing.

In fact, Sen. Johnson said back in 2008, Congress was presented with 15 recommendations to better secure our grids. All these years later and he says none of them have been done and hopes today's testimony, will change that.

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