Almost all US networks can be hacked: Intelligence Committee

Almost all US networks can be hacked: Intelligence Committee

Summary: The chair of the US House Intelligence Committee has said that hackers from China and Iran are stealing not only military documents via online attacks, but also civilian intellectual property, and that the US government is just watching it happen.

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The US is vulnerable to cyberattacks that could shut down financial services or destroy information that companies need for daily operations, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has said.

Mike Rogers said 95 percent of private sector networks are vulnerable, and most have already been hit.

What's being stolen? Personal identities, money from banks, blueprints for next-generation jobs. At risk are private companies and public agencies.

Some estimates put the value of information hacked at up to $US400 billion (AU$390 billion) every year. But many companies are reluctant to admit they've been attacked, to keep a competitive edge and avoid reactions from shareholders.

Rogers said that hackers have stepped up attacks since last year, and pointed to China and Iran.

"They're taking blueprints back, not just military documents, but civilian innovation that companies are gonna use to create production lines to build things," Rogers said.

"They're stealing that, repurposing it back in nations like China, and competing in the international market." Rogers told CBS that the US government has essentially "set up lawn chairs, told the burglars where the silver is ... and opened the case of beer and watched them do it".

Rogers was responsible for introducing the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) in November 2011, which, if passed, would establish sharing of classified government cybersecurity information with the US private sector. It has been condemned by groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), on the basis that it would allow companies to bypass privacy laws and provide user data directly to the government.

But China's ambassador to Australia, Chen Yuming, previously told ABC's Newsline in an interview that it, too, is a target, receiving 13 percent of all cyberattacks globally.

He said that it is unfair that "other parties" failed to see China as also a victim of cyberattacks, without providing any evidence of the fact, and called their claims "unfounded".

"There are hundreds of thousands of computers in Chinese government agencies which have been attacked by cyberattackers from overseas sources."

A bipartisan bill to shore up the cyberdefences passed the US House of Representatives, but died in the Senate in the last Congress. Similar legislation could be introduced again as early as this week.

For Rogers, the fix is "very simple".

"Share information about threats online," he said.

"The senior leadership in the intelligence community said that they think that we can stop 90 percent of our problems by just sharing classified cyberthreat information."

Topics: Security, Government, Government US, China

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6 comments
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  • incorrect. 100% can be hacked

    Remember, every single damned computer can be hacked. It comes down to, poorly secured computers are more likely to be successfully penetrated. All the security in the world can only reduce the success rate.

    However, when the number of attempts approach infinity, the odds of success approaches 100%.
    the_tyrant
  • Mike Rogers is on the wrong committee

    Because he is an idiot. Bills like CISPA show zero understanding of the cyber security problem, which is inherently infrastructural in nature. If a bridge is deteriorating due to poor design and poorer maintenance, you don't want information sharing -- you just want someone to fix the stupid bridge.
    JustCallMeBC
  • Intelligence Committee needs to look here

    The Intelligence Committee needs to check it's lack of oversight on Intelligence activities:
    http://usgovt-atrocities.com
    Afrl Rome NY
  • Uh, DUH!

    Of course any network can be hacked by someone with the time and energy to want to hack it. In reality though, how many people are actually 'important' enough to hack?
    Lerianis10
  • logical fallacies

    there have been a few occurrences of people being pushed into oncoming traffic. everybody can be pushed into oncoming traffic. therefore there is a very high risk of everybody being pushed into oncoming traffic. therefore the government needs to erect fences around every single road.

    democracy, stupidity, racism and fear are some of the most effective tools of a totalitarian state. america is 70% there. give it another 5 years...
    petermiller1986
  • OMG Hax0rs!

    Most wifi networks can currently be hacked, US or otherwise. Just google on 'reaver'.
    triffid_98