What Is Next on Hackers' Hit Lists

Author: James Rogers

From Lockheed Martin to Citigroup and even the CIA, the list of major organizations falling victim to hackers is growing at an alarming rate, fueling worries that core U.S. infrastructure is the next big target.

"If you are talking about hackers that work for foreign governments, then I think the focus would continue with defense contractors as well as anything related to the U.S. infrastructure," said Jim Stickley of cyber security specialist TraceSecurity. "That could include the power grids as well as oil refinery companies and phone systems."

Underlining the importance of this issue, the National Security Agency has reportedly started a project called "Perfect Citizen," which aims to monitor key infrastructure such as power grids and nuclear reactors for potential cyber attacks. The NSA has not yet responded to TheStreet's request for comment on this story.

Attacks that temporarily knock out an organization's Web site, such as the ones which recently targeted the CIA and the IMF, are also likely to proliferate, according to John D'Arcy, an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business.

"The next likely target will be a high-profile government Web site or system, or else one of the larger U.S. companies' sites such as Google," he explained. "These hacking groups are really trying to make a splash by going after high-profile targets (such as the IMF site) and I expect that trend to continue."

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