Cyber attacks against power plants and other vital infrastructure may be higher than previously believed

A new study [PDF] that interviewed power plant operators and other "critical infrastructure" indicates more than 50 percent of all U.S. power plants have had to deal with an increase in cyber attacks.

Security company McAfee funded the research, speaking with 600 IT managers and executives from 14 different nations.  

Around 54 percent of those interviewed said some type of network "stealthy infiltration" took place, with the same number of executives noting they faced massive denial-of-service attacks on their networks at one point in time.

The threat of cyber attacks scare most computer users to be worried about potential data and bank theft -- but security experts and government analysts note cyber attacks could be a national security issue as well.

Brazil had several high-profile blackouts in late 2009, which allegedly are tied to cyber attacks against the country's IT infrastructure.  Brazilian officials denied cyber terrorism caused the outages, but it's a major issue now that the 2016 Summer Olympic Games will  be held in Rio de Janeiro.

The threat of cyber attacks are even more serious now with China, North Korea, and Russia either hiring hackers directly to launch attacks, or are funneling money to hacker groups.

These types of issues will be handled by Howard Schmidt, President Barack Obama's hand-picked cyber czar, who will work with security experts in an effort to keep the country safe from state-sponsored attacks.

The FBI and Secret Service also are attempting to combat cyber terrorism, especially if the attack appears to be coordinated by a foreign government.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini
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