That kind of action requires skill, but it can also be child's play. In 1998, a 12-year-old boy successfully hacked into the controls for the huge Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River in Arizona. He might have released floodwaters that would have inundated Mesa and Tempe, endangering at least 1 million people.
Cyber attacks are growing more popular. During this year's tense standoff between India and Pakistan, sapper gangs of cybernerds duked it out. According to the BBC, two groups—the Unix Security Guards and the World Fantabulous Defacers—made 111 digital attacks on Indian educational and business sites. A pro-Islamic cyberalliance now operates across the Internet against U.S., Israeli and Indian targets. "I know they exist, for I met some of them, either on the Web or in person," said Damien Bancal, editor of the French site Zataz.com.
If you want to see for yourself what's out there on the Net for would-be attackers, check out Cryptome.org, a site where you can eyeball every nuclear power plant, with clear aerial photos and a concise data sheet prepared by federal disaster officials. The site also allows you a virtual tour of Dick Cheney's VP mansion near the Naval Observatory in Washington. Outwardly, the place looks like a citadel, with barricades placed across the entrance and cop cars parked randomly along the brightly lit fence. But with the images provided by Cryptome.com, you can sail right past all this stuff and take a look that's uncomfortably close.