Government officials warn of growing cyberthreats
The threat of cyberattacks against institutions within the United States looms large. In the wake of reports that cybercriminals had launched assaults against the nation's banking industry and several media outlets, government officials warned of the increasing rate of security breaches.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently spoke at Georgetown University, where he raised concerns over the pace of cyberattacks within the United States and congress' sluggish response to pass legislation that would bolster the government's security efforts. The secretary cited several institutions that remain vulnerable to cyberattacks, noting that a large-scale threat against the nation's government, commercial and financial sectors could have devastating consequences due to the massive amount of sensitive information contained within their databanks. If those resources fell into the wrong hands it could deeply damage national security as well as open individual citizens' up to identity theft and fraud.
“I believe that it is very possible the next Pearl Harbor could be a cyber attack...[that] would have one hell of an impact on the United States of America. That is something we have to worry about and protect against,” he said.
Newsmax reported that the House Intelligence Committee is working on drafting legislation that would target the issue of the nation's cybersecurity. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers echoed the secretary's concern over the potential for cyber criminals to disrupt America's various sectors. Last year, the House passed legislation that would have allowed the federal government the share classified information regarding potential cyberthreats with businesses, but the bill languished in the Senate. Congress officials, including Rogers and Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon pledged to make cybersecurity a top concern in the coming year.
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