Cyberattacks Could Overtake Terrorist Threat — FBI Chief

Yesterday (March 1, 2012), FBI Director Robert Mueller addressed the RSA Conference in San Francisco.

FBI Director Mueller

These are a few of Director Mueller’s observations:

Terrorism remains the FBI’s top priority. But in the not too distant future, we anticipate that the cyber threat will pose the number one threat to our country.

Terrorists are increasingly cyber savvy. Much like every other multi-national organization, they are using the Internet to grow their business and to connect with like-minded individuals. And they are not hiding in the shadows of cyber space.

Terrorist use of the Internet is not our only national security concern. As we know, state-sponsored computer hacking and economic espionage pose significant challenges.

Just as traditional crime has migrated online, so, too, has espionage. Hostile foreign nations seek our intellectual property and our trade secrets for military and competitive advantage.

State-sponsored hackers are patient and calculating. They have the time, the money, and the resources to burrow in, and to wait. They may come and go, conducting reconnaissance and exfiltrating bits of seemingly innocuous information—information that in the aggregate may be of high value.

You may discover one breach, only to find that the real damage has been done at a much higher level.

Unlike state-sponsored intruders, hackers for profit do not seek information for political power—they seek information for sale to the highest bidder. These once-isolated hackers have joined forces to create criminal syndicates. Organized crime in cyber space offers a higher profit with a lower probability of being identified and prosecuted.

Unlike traditional crime families, these hackers may never meet, but they possess specialized skills in high demand.

They exploit routine vulnerabilities. They move in quickly, make their money, and disappear. No company is immune, from the Fortune 500 corporation to the neighborhood “mom and pop” business.

You can read the Director’s entire remarks at:


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