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Attorney General Hood Expresses Growing Concerns About Hackers Getting Into Electrical Grids

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 07 Oct 2013 06:04pm | comments

As many as 500,000 U.S. jobs  including here in Mississippi are lost each year from costs associated with cyber espionage also known as hacking. That's according to a recent report by the security firm McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. While hacking takes its toll on the  economy,  it can  also have devastating effects on public safety.


If something can connect to a network, it can be hacked. While computers and cell phones are still popular targets Attorney General Jim Hood says he has a growing concern about what impact computer hacking can have on public safety facilities such as electrical grids.

"And that's what I figure sometime in my lifetime that we will probably have an electrical shutdown. Some terrorist hooking up with some hacker that goes in and shut down a region of our nation. Cause we've seen from Katrina and different times. You know when the electricity goes down society will quickly come apart. You know within three days of electricity being down, people that would never think about stealing would steal water for their kids or their family.

Hood made those comments at a Stennis Press Luncheon in Jackson yesterday.

"Well that's where the terrorist are poking and prodding in on our systems. I don't think hopefully they will get in on our  missile defense type systems but that's where they are trying on the fringes," said Hood.  "But you know there are a lot of other areas that's not necessarily involving defense like the electrical grid and other things that endanger our public safety."

One of those areas involves public finance. Paul Breazeale is a Certified Public Accountant in Jackson. He says one of his biggest fears is what could happen to his employees who have computer capabilities to work from home.    

"And so if someone hacks into a home computer, all of a sudden they could be in our office computer. Breazeale said. "it would mean a crisis if someone gets into our computer. First of all we have confidential and second of all we couldn’t survive without that information."

Analysts say computer hacking could be costing Mississippi and the rest of the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars a year.




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