Winner 2009

60 Minutes: Sabotaging the System

CBS News 60 Minutes

While we all shudder at the prospect of terrorists obtaining a tiny amount of weapons-grade plutonium, this startling 60 Minutes report brought home the very real harm a savvy hacker can do using nothing more exotic than a laptop. Using two cyber attacks that crippled electrical utilities in Brazil as a reference point, correspondent Steve Kroft and his producing team examined the implications of cyber terrorism for the United States. The worst-case scenarios, described to Kroft by some of our most knowledgeable cyber-warfare experts, were chilling: cascading, chaos-causing outages in every system we use computers to control, from electrical grids to banking records to air-traffic control to missile defense. More chilling still, the threat is more than theoretical. Kroft confirmed that our government and utility companies already are fending off multiple cyber attacks. What comfort there was came from hearing experts such as Mike McConnell, former Director of National Intelligence, outline what experts are doing to tighten our defenses. For alerting viewers to a clear, present, under-reported danger, a Peabody Award goes to 60 Minutes: Sabotaging the System.


Executive Producer: Jeff Fager. Executive Editor: Bill Owens. Senior Producer: Michael Radutzky. Producer: Graham Messick. Associate Producer: Michael Karzis. Story Editor: Claudia Weinstein. Correspondent: Steve Kroft. Editor: Warren Lustig.