General Keith B. Alexander, the current director of the National Security Agency, has been watching the news very carefully in the last few weeks. He has seen all of the latest news stories concerning Anonymous, a hacker group that has been targeting several websites and taking them down. At first, they only seemed to be targeting businesses, but lately, they have set their sights to bigger prospects such as the websites for the CIA and Polish governments. They even managed to hack in to a phone call made by the FBI to several others of the world’s leading police and law enforcement agencies. The topic of the conversation: how to approach the growing threat of Anonymous and other hacker groups like them. It is stories like these that have convinced General Alexander and other officials that the hacking group Anonymous, whose hacking abilities are obviously far more pronounced than anyone could have initially guesses, may be able to create a temporary power outage throughout the entire United States. And this isn’t something that could happen in 10 to 20 years; no, this could happen within the next 12-24 months, says Alexander.
General Keith Alexander gave his assessment of the Anonymous situation in private meetings behind closed doors at the White House and other locations, according to a few sources familiar with the goings-on at those venues.
Though the good general has not gone completely public with his concerns about the potential for Anonymous to disrupt power supplies, he has continued to be adamant in warning the public about hackers’ ability to enter and disrupt entire computer networks. This has been seen many times in recent weeks, with Anonymous gaining access to many different sites and taking them down with a distributed denial of service, or DDoS. The CIA website was down for over 8 hours just a few weeks ago, which was unprecedented. Also, Anonymous was able to steal the personal information of 46,000 residents of the state of Alabama. The shear amount of damage that could have been done is immeasurable.
Alexander’s warning is not the only one of its kind; in fact, his warning is meant to represent a growing concern on the part of the federal government over the capabilities and threat posed by Anonymous. Perhaps the scariest part of all is that Anonymous is not acting alone; thee hacker group has a loose affiliation of so-called hacktivist computer programmers who have continued to launch attacks against several US government websites and corporate sites. If this continues, there is truly no telling of how far Anonymous will go or is willing to go. Innocent lives could be at stake.
We have all been lucky so far that the attacks by Anonymous have only been to embarrass their targets. They want to send a message that they will not idly stand by while government talks down the very thing for which they believe they stand. No information has been sold or traded, and no finances or security measures have been compromised. But that doesn’t mean that it will remain that way forever.