Cracks in the System


Can al-Qaeda launch cyber-attacks on infrastructure and power grids?

Three flights up a scruffy building in central Moscow, a small paper sign pasted on the wall directs visitors to Directorate R of the Moscow police. R stands for nothing: it was just the next code letter available in 1986 when the police decided to set up their own communications-security branch. These days the Directorate's bread-and-butter work is computer and mobile-phone fraud. But their biggest nightmare — and that of their counterparts in Western Europe and the U.S. — is digital attack. "This, unfortunately, is the future face of terrorism," says Dmitri Chepchugov, head of Directorate R.


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