SAN JOSE (CBS/AP) — California utility officials are warning that hackers are increasingly targeting utilities with cyber attacks that could leave millions of people without electricity, water and other vital services.

The California Public Utilities Commission is considering rules to bolster cyber-security protections.

In a recent report, the agency warned that utilities are becoming increasingly vulnerable as their networks add smart meters and other computerized gear, and many providers are reluctant to report they’ve been hacked.

Experts say a cyber attack against an electric utility could lead to massive power outages that shut down water and transportation, threaten the sick and elderly and cause billions of dollars in damage.

Officials say many utility companies have done little to guard their operations against hackers despite years of prodding.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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