Washington: Chinese and Russian cyber-spies have hacked into the US electricity grid and inserted programmes that could be used to disrupt the system in time of war or crisis, a newspaper report said Wednesday. According to the Wall Street Journal, cyber-spies penetrated the system repeatedly last year, without disrupting it.
The paper quoted intelligence sources and homeland security officials as the source of its report.
"The Chinese have attempted to map our infrastructure, such as the electrical grid," the paper said quoting a senior intelligence official, and "so have the Russians."
According to officials, bugs have been planted in the system which could be used to disrupt vital networks at a time of war or crisis. It is feared that hackers could hijack computer systems which run critical infrastructure facilities, such as power plants, and controlling them remotely cause chaos in the country.
Cybersecurity is perceived by the US government as a major vulnerability.
Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano has named it as one of at least 12 areas up for rapid policy review.
The US Defense Department has spent more than $100 million in the past six months repairing the damage done by the cyber attacks, General John Davis, deputy commander of the joint task force for global operations, informed news services early this week.