Risk
2/23/2010
04:28 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Former Intelligence Chief: U.S. Would Lose Cyberwar

Michael McConnell, former director of national intelligence, warns that the threat of a cyberattack rivals nuclear weapons in terms of seriousness.

The risk of a catastrophic cyberattack is approaching the gravity of the nuclear risk, according to the Bush administration's top spy.

"The cyber risk has become so important that, in my view, it rivals nuclear weapons in terms of seriousness," Michael McConnell, former director of national intelligence, said Tuesday at a hearing of the Senate committee on commerce, transportation, and technology.

McConnell warned in striking terms that the United States was not prepared either for cyber warfare or cyber criminals. "If the nation went to war today in a cyberwar, we would lose," he said. "We're the most vulnerable, we're the most connected, and we have the most to lose."

In addition, McConnell predicted that the United States will suffer a catastrophic cyberattack before it takes strong action, and said that America's cyber posture will be strengthened greatly after any attack. He added that the strongest action should focus on securing financial transactions and the financial sector.

He compared what should be done in the cyber world to what has already been done in the nuclear world, pushing the Senate to promote ideals of verification, data integrity, and "non-repudiation" in any cybersecurity bills the Senate decides to put forward.

The Senate has been working on such a bill for almost a year under the leadership of Sens. John Rockefeller, (D-W.V.), and Olympia Snowe (R-Me). The bill is now in its fourth draft, and according to Snowe, has been written in consultation with "hundreds" of key stakeholders.

"We need a very strong, top-level coordination," Rockefeller said at the hearing. "Too much is at stake to think that today's outdated structures are up to the task." The Rockefeller-Snowe bill would call for a comprehensive cyberstrategy, identify key roles of all important players in government-led cybersecurity efforts, and recommend that the cyber coordinator position take on a cabinet-level, Senate-confirmed role.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Security Operations and IT Operations: Finding the Path to Collaboration
A wide gulf has emerged between SOC and NOC teams that's keeping both of them from assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems. Here's how experts think it should be bridged.
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.