cyber strikes against critical infrastructures imminent
Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the U.S. National Security Agency, said on Thursday China and “probably one or two” other countries have the ability to invade and possibly shut down computer systems of U.S. energy, water and fuel distribution systems, aviation networks and financial companies.
Testifying two days after a bill to overhaul the NSA’s bulk collection of telephone records failed in the Senate, Rogers said, “What concerns us is that access, that capability can be used by nation-states, groups or individuals to take down that capability.” Rogers said digital attackers have been able to penetrate such systems and perform “reconnaissance” missions to determine how the networks are put together.
Adm. Rogers is also the commander of the U.S. Cyber Command (Cybercom), tasked with protecting critical infrastructure from attacks by sophisticated hackers from governments or criminal groups. Rogers predicts during his tenure we will see a major attack on our infrastructure causing significant loss of life or physical damage. He is one of the highest-ranking U.S. officials to warn us of impending cyber-attacks.
Hackers from the Chinese, Russian and Iranian governments have hacked into U.S. computers and could launch destructive attacks that include shutting down power grids, Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the intelligence committee, said during the Thursday hearing.
Chairman Rogers said Chinese economic cyber espionage has “grown exponentially in terms of volume and damage done to our nation’s economic future”, according to the Washington Free Beacon. “Chinese intelligence services that conduct these attacks have little fear, because we have no practical deterrence to that theft,” Mr. Rogers said.
Iran also has conducted “very challenging” denial of service cyber attacks on financial networks in 2012, according to Mr. Rogers. He went on to say “Trojan horse malware” linked to Russia was detected on industrial control software used in a wide range of critical American infrastructures.
China is attacking the U.S. grid and financial institutions with minimal fear of retaliation by the Obama administration. Despite that, Chairman Rogers said that most of the critical U.S. infrastructure providers are doing their best to better secure their networks.