CIA Director Expresses Concerns of Looming Cyber-War

CIA Director warns ISIS (ISIL) has U.S. in its sites for cyber-terrorist attack.

This past Sunday’s broadcast of the CBS news magazine, 60 Minutes, featured a Scott Pelley interview with CIA Director, John Brennan. In addition to staying on top of possible shooting or bombing terrorist attack threats from ISIL, one concern that keeps the director up at night is the potential for cyber-attacks. Brennan fears a cyber-war that could take down the U.S. infrastructure or wreak havoc with transportation or financial systems.

In an effort to prevent cyber-attacks from taking place, the director is leading a number of initiatives to better address this threat. Chief among these is the creation of a new directorate to specifically address cyber terrorism. This is the first new director position the CIA has established in 50 years.

Director Brennan acknowledged that several countries may well possess the technology to pull off a successful cyber-attack against the U.S. However, he added any that may have the ability, do not have the intent to do so.  It is those with the intent that he is working to stay ahead of.

One country that the U.S. has collaborated with in these efforts is Israel. Cyber-security has been a priority of the Israeli government since 2002. While addressing attendees at the CyberTech 2016 conference for Israel Defense Forces, Israel’s Prime Mister, Benjamin Netanyahu said, “In the Internet of everything, everything can be penetrated. Everything can be sabotaged, everything can be subverted.”

The U.S. government does, of course, take potential cyber-threats seriously.  Three years ago this month, President Obama signed an Executive Order, “Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.” Since then the U.S. has been employing a whole-of-government approach to cyber-terrorism, much like Israel.

 

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