I never really cared for the term ‘Cracker’ as the ‘bad hackers’, so we’ll stick with my favorite : Black Hat Hackers.
In a major shift in policy and intent, the National Security Administration (NSA) is examining what it would take to in order to monitor and defend against the bad guys that want to hack into the networks controlling the American power plants, utilities, subways and any other system deemed vital to the safety and well fare of its citizens.
The problem with this is that the original charter for the NSA emphasizes that the National Security Agency shall not spy on its own citizens, but this very thing would be required since the bad guys are coming from inside the borders as much as they are from outside.
From the Baltimore Sun:
The plan calls for the NSA to work with the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies to monitor such networks to prevent unauthorized intrusion, according to those with knowledge of what is known internally as the “Cyber Initiative.” Details of the project are highly classified.
The NSA’s new domestic role would require a revision of the agency’s charter, the senior intelligence official said. Up to now, the NSA’s cyberdefense arsenal has been used to guard the government’s classified networks — not the unclassified networks that now are the responsibility of other federal agencies.
Potential cyberattacks are being discussed in chat rooms in languages that include English, Arabic, Russian and Punjabi. Terrorists and others already know many of the country’s vulnerabilities and are extremely concerned about the ability to hack into computer systems controlling nuclear power plants.
Link to the Baltimore Sun article.