The Top 10 White-Hat Hacks

By Jordan Robertson - 2014-07-23T01:49:30Z

Photograph by Martin Divisek/Bloomberg

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Off the Grid

One of the gravest cyber-security threats is an attack on the electrical grid. In 2007, a video produced for the Department of Homeland Security showed what that would look like. Using real equipment, researchers caused an industrial turbine to spin wildly out of control, melting down and shutting off power.

The video, obtained by the Associated Press, was not meant for public consumption. Marked "Official Use Only," it shows commands sent by hackers causing the turbine to blast apart amid thick plumes of smoke. Vice President Dick Cheney was among the officials who were shown the video, according to the AP.

The demonstration, called the "Aurora Generator Test," was meant to scare officials into taking stronger steps to protect the nation's infrastructure from computer attacks. The specific programming flaw was fixed, but researchers are finding many others. 

Read the special report on cybersecurity.