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FBI says cyber crime is emerging as a threat to surpass terrorism

Internet security has changed the bureau’s priorities on national security
Wed Apr 24 2013, 17:45
FBI at Infosec

INFOSEC: CYBER CRIME is fast becoming a threat to surpass terrorism, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said on Wednesday, announcing that it has changed its priorities to focus on cyber security as "a national security threat".

"In the 26 years that I've been in the FBI, I've seen a number of threats emerge and change, and we have to retool and refocus ourselves as an organisation to address counter terrorism, it's been our main priority," the FBI's legal attache at the US embassy in London Scott Cruse said today in a keynote at the Infosecurity Europe 2013 conference (Infosec) in London.

"I've sat in a number of meetings over the last few years with directors and senior members of the FBI and cyber-crime is fast emerging as the next threat on the horizon to eventually surpass counter terrorism."

Cruse said the threat posed by cyber espionage actors and criminal groups and terrorist organisations to US private sector computer networks and government networks has reached the level now where it is "calling it a national security threat".

"The FBI is going through tremendous changes now as far as the way we look at cyber-crime, hiring war professionals and computer scientists to provide training to our line agents so that they can be better equipped to work these types of cases," Cruse said.

"We've also changed some of our priorities, to prevent cyber-attacks against our critical infrastructures, reduce the national vulnerability of these cyber-attacks and lastly, to minimise the damage and recovery time of cyber-attacks when they do occur."

Though Cruse acknowledged that all types of security threats are "extremely dangerous", he said that if he was to pull out the most significant, he'd choose destructive computer exploitation threats that affect large numbers of the population. "They are ones we are most concerned about," he added.

According to Cruse, the FBI has also found that governments cannot address the problems cyber threats pose alone, and it takes ongoing collaboration between affected industries, security researchers and academia in order to tackle the threats. "We're looking to build those relationships and collaborate," he added.

The news that the FBI has said cyber threats affecting national security are a major concern arrives just one day after Euegene Kaspersky declared cyber terrorists "are only a matter of time".

Kaspersky told attendees of the Infosecurity conference yesterday that terrorists will begin adopting state sponsored style attacks such as Stuxnet and Red October to target countries' critical infrastructure.

The possibility of these types of attacks are "the worst of the worst" in cyberspace at the moment, he said. µ


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