FBI warns Congress of terrorist hacking

Summary:The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is warning Congress that terrorist groups may employ hackers to attack the United States. Separately, Anonymous was brought up by the FBI.

Robert S. Mueller III, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), yesterday warned Congress of terrorist hacking in the "FBI Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2013." He believes that while terrorists haven't hacked their way into the U.S. government yet, it's only a matter of time.

Here's an excerpt of Mueller's testimony to a House appropriations subcommittee reviewing the FBI's budget:

To date, terrorists have not used the Internet to launch a full-scale cyber attack, but we cannot underestimate their intent. Terrorists have shown interest in pursuing hacking skills. And they may seek to train their own recruits or hire outsiders, with an eye toward pursuing cyber attacks. These adaptations of the terrorist threat make the FBI’s counterterrorism mission that much more difficult and challenging.

On February 28, 2012, the hacktivist group Anonymous hacked into a telephone conversation taking place between FBI authorities in New York and law enforcement in London. They then posted the 16-minute recording of the conference online, which you can watch in the YouTube video above, to embarrass authorities.

It remains to be seen whether or not Congress will take action to defend against a terrorist hacking attack on the U.S. Most likely though, the FBI will simply just get the budget bump it is looking for. The statement Anonymous made last month will likely be a good argument. In fact, Mueller names the group in his testimony:

Over the past year, the FBI and our partners have also pursued members of Anonymous, who are alleged to have coordinated and executed distributed denial of service (DDos) attacks against various Internet companies. To date, 16 individuals have been arrested and charged in more than 10 states as part of this ongoing investigation. According to the indictment, the Anonymous group referred to the DDoS attacks as Operation Avenge Assange and allegedly conducted the attacks in support of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The defendants are charged with various counts of conspiracy and intentional damage to a protected computer.

Even this month, Anonymous has been very busy, as you can see in the links below.

See also:

Topics: Government : US, Government, Security

About

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.