In less than three years after the National Security Agency found itself subject to an unprecedentedly catastrophic hacking episode, one of the agency's most powerful cyber weapons is reportedly being turned against American cities with alarming frequency by the very foreign hackers it was once intended to counter.

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(Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency photo)

Only a few have gone through the extensive background checks needed to access Plum Island, where a secretive branch of the U.S. government runs exercises to prepare for all-out cyber war.

The speck of land in the Long Island Sound, owned by the Department of Homeland Security, is largely deserted. The main attractions are a defunct lighthouse and a center that studies infectious animal diseases.

It is also the perfect setting for the U.S. government to stage mock cyber attacks on the power grid.

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