Terrorists or hackers taking down the U.S. power grid using a computer virus sounds like the plot of a Hollywood movie (in fact, it played a major role in "Die Hard 4"). Unfortunately, it's a very real threat and one that security experts have been warning about for years.
In fact, since 2000, there have been 15 power grid problems that could have been cyberattacks, according to Reuters. Many power stations run on older hardware and software that's vulnerable to viruses and other targeted hacks.
Unfortunately, many industries have a wait-and-see attitude toward security. They're gambling that the costs of cleaning up after an attack are lower than the costs of preventing the attack.
That's why the University of Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies and the famous insurer Lloyd's of London put together a plausible blackout scenario to explore the costs. Here's what they found.