Policymakers and leading experts discuss challenges in protecting the U.S. from cyber attacks
22 May 2013
Do you lie awake at night wondering, “Is my bank account safe from cyber thieves?” Well, for cybersecurity professionals fear of the unknown also keeps them tossing and turning. Top U.S. policymakers and leading experts discussed the challenges they face in protecting the U.S. from cyber attacks at the recently held 2013 Reuters Cybersecurity Summit in Washington D.C.
Businesses, government agencies and critical infrastructure operators face unprecedented challenges in protecting themselves from increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks launched by criminals, hacker activists and foreign governments. To date these attacks have for the most part focused on financial crimes, intellectual property theft and disrupting network operations. However, experts and policymakers warn that critical infrastructure, including financial systems, are vulnerable to increasingly destructive viruses.
Keith Alexander, the U.S. Army general who leads the National Security Agency, warned that “the greatest transfer of wealth in history” is underway through hacking and computer attacks. While Richard McFeely, a top FBI investigator, revealed efforts to engage banks in order to probe recent cyber attacks.
Other officials aired their fears of a rising tide of cyber attacks targeting intellectual property, the financial system and critical infrastructure like the electric grid, and discussed their own efforts to guard against hackers and identity thieves. Security experts from several companies also mentioned the series of attacks that have knocked major U.S. banking websites offline over the past year could be more powerful than commonly realized.