(Bloomberg View) -- A new report by Bloomberg News about Russia being suspected of recently hacking a dozen U.S. power plants, including a nuclear one, is far more serious than any possible attempt to influence an election. It could be a sign of something even scarier: two military superpowers stepping up a cyberwar in the shadows and without rules of engagement that protect civilians from other kinds of warfare.

Attacks on power grids have a potential for mass destruction. A temporary power outage doesn't appear to be all that threatening compared with the use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, but blackouts kill people even when they don't last long. During the East Coast blackout of 2003, some power was restored within seven hours, and still dozens of deaths were ascribed to the event.

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