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 "Too much is at stake to think that today's outdated structures are up to the task."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
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-8617
Published: 2015-03-04
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the Web Action Quarantine Release feature in the WebGUI in Fortinet FortiMail before 4.3.9, 5.0.x before 5.0.8, 5.1.x before 5.1.5, and 5.2.x before 5.2.3 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the release parameter to module/re...

CVE-2015-2209
Published: 2015-03-04
DLGuard 4.5 allows remote attackers to obtain the installation path via the c parameter to index.php.

CVE-2014-7896
Published: 2015-03-03
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in HP XP P9000 Command View Advanced Edition Software Online Help, as used in HP Device Manager 6.x through 8.x before 8.1.2-00, HP XP P9000 Tiered Storage Manager 6.x through 8.x before 8.1.2-00, HP XP P9000 Replication Manager 6.x and 7.x before ...

CVE-2014-9283
Published: 2015-03-03
The BestWebSoft Captcha plugin before 4.0.7 for WordPress allows remote attackers to bypass the CAPTCHA protection mechanism and obtain administrative access via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-9683
Published: 2015-03-03
Off-by-one error in the ecryptfs_decode_from_filename function in fs/ecryptfs/crypto.c in the eCryptfs subsystem in the Linux kernel before 3.18.2 allows local users to cause a denial of service (buffer overflow and system crash) or possibly gain privileges via a crafted filename.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.