WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Researchers who launched an experimental cyber attack caused a generator to self-destruct, alarming the federal government and electrical industry about what might happen if such an attack were carried out on a larger scale, CNN has learned.
Sources familiar with the experiment said the same attack scenario could be used against huge generators that produce the country's electric power.
Economist Scott Borg, who produces security-related data for the federal government, projects that if a third of the country lost power for three months, the economic price tag would be $700 billion.
"It's equivalent to 40 to 50 large hurricanes striking all at once," Borg said. "It's greater economic damage than any modern economy ever suffered. ... It's greater then the Great Depression. It's greater than the damage we did with strategic bombing on Germany in World War II."