If it can happen, it eventually will happen. While America continues to make huge gains in vulnerability, its enemies are making huge gains in technology that enables them to hit harder and more effectively. Manchurian chips from China are placed throughout military hardware as well as government and civilian hardware — and the USA is just barely catching on to this, after decades of being infiltrated.
Former NSA Director: U.S. facing crippling cyber attack, long-term cyber espionage.
Retired Vice Adm. Mike McConnell, who headed both the National Security Agency (NSA) and served as director of national intelligence, said in a speech that one example of a devastating cyber attack would be the crippling of the U.S. economy through cyber attacks on banks and financial institutions.
“We have a national problem and it is significant. The next big issue will be a cyber 9/11,” McConnell said during a luncheon speech to a meeting of the American Bar Association standing committee on law and national security.
“I’ve been sounding the alarm, and I’ve been doing this now for 20 years,” he said. “We are going to have a cyber event that is catastrophic.”
An immediate threat is the vulnerability of the United States’ annual $14 trillion economy in which $13 trillion moves through the banking system daily. That data is not backed by gold or physical dollar bills, but only by the banking reconciliation system.
“I am personally acquainted with people who have the physical capability to break into that system and contaminate the data,” McConnell said. “If it were contaminated, banks would fail and you would have a cascading effect.”
A longer-term cyber threat is cyber espionage, an activity carried out very successfully by China, McConnell said.
“We have looked at major computer systems in every industry and every segment of government and we have never not found an advanced persistent threat embedded in a computer under the command and control of someone else, whose purpose is to extract information at a point in time and place and choosing of whoever put the malware in the system,” he said.
Full article: Cyber Threat Looms (Washington Free Beacon)