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FBI: Cybersecurity Threats High Concern of U.S. Security Officials

Targeted cyber crime threats are a growing concern of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to officials testifying at a Senate hearing this week.

Robert Mueller, the director for the FBI, and National Intelligence Director James Clapper both shared this sentiment at the annual Worldwide Threat hearing.

"The cyberthreat is one of the most challenging ones we face," said Clapper in front of the Senate committee. "Among state actors, we're particularly concerned about entities within China and Russia conducting intrusions into U.S. computer networks and stealing U.S. data."

One example of this was a report from Symantec last week that pointed to China as being the origin of the Sykipot Trojan that targeted federal defense organizations. The goal of the malware was to embed keylogger to swipe private data.

Clapper discussed that it would be easier for foreign governments to engage in acts like the Sykipot incident  to obtain new tech than to spend the resources and money it takes to develop their own. This is also a concern because Clapper doesn't believe that there are enough deterrents to hinder cyber theft due to the speed in which new tech is introduced. "We foresee a cyber environment in which emerging technologies are developed and implemented before security responses can be put in place."

Touching on the idea of a changing technological environment, Mueller discussed that just as local and federal law enforcement completely rewrote the book on handing terrorism on U.S. soil after the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, the rules of engagement in cybersecurity should also be completely refreshed as it continues to be a growing threat.

"In the same way we changed to address terrorism, we have to change to address cybercrime." Mueller said. "And so we have to build up the collective addressing of that threat in the same way that we did so and broke down the walls in the wake of September 11th ."

Congress will  take in consideration  both Muller's and Clapper's testimony when it debates  next month a new cyber legislation that will grant Homeland Security more power to protect high-profile U.S. computer networks.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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