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Devastating Attack In The Net's Near Future, Experts Say

Count on at least one devastating attack on the Internet in the next 10 years, an overwhelming majority of technology experts and analysts polled by a major research group said Monday.

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project's survey on the future of the Internet, which polled over 1,200 tech experts and social analysts, 66 percent of the experts agreed with the prediction that a large-scale, damaging attack on the Net, or an assault on the nation's power grid will occur by 2014.

"Given the current terrorist context we live in and the interest in hackers to show off their skills this is inevitable, as is the unfortunate human quality to only fix the problem once it has occurred," wrote one of the experts.

The survey, which was conducted in conjunction with North Carolina-based Elon University, laid out a list of 10-year predictions and asked the experts to give thumbs up or thumbs down.

"We wrote statements that were a mix of positive and negative outcomes," said Susannah Fox, the associate director at Pew and a co-author of the survey. "We're not necessarily saying they'll come true. In fact, we have no idea. But we came up with predictive statements that we wanted the experts to comment on."

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