Spy Chief: Digital Pearl Harbor Could Happen

Leon E. Panetta, CIA

CIA Director Leon E. Panetta told a U.S. House panel Thursday cybersecurity is the international “battleground of the future,” echoing FBI head Robert S. Mueller‘s concerns about cybersecurity being a growing problem.

Appearing before the House intelligence committee, which was holding a hearing on worldwide threats, Panetta said he does not think there is any question cybersecurity is a “real national security threat that we have to pay attention to,” according to UPI.

“I know there are a lot of aspects to it,” he said. “The Internet, the cyber arena is this vastly growing area of information that can be used and abused in a number of ways.”

The potential for the next Pearl Harbor could very well be a cyber attack, the director added. A cyber attack that brings down the U.S. power grid system, financial systems and government systems could paralyze the nation, he surmised.

The spy chief also highlighted how other countries are developing significant cyber capabilities, including Russia, China or Iran.

“We’re now the subject of literally hundreds of thousands of attacks that come in, in an effort to try to get information,” he said, according to ABC News. “We’ve got to develop not only defense against that, but we’ve got to put our assets in places where we can provide sufficient warning that these attacks are coming.”

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