U.S. Homeland Chief: Cyber 9/11 Could Happen 'Imminently'
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned on Thursday that a major cyber attack
is a looming threat and could have the same sort of impact as last
year's Superstorm Sandy, which knocked out electricity in a large swathe
of the Northeast.
Napolitano said a "cyber 9/11" could happen "imminently" and that critical infrastructure - including water, electricity and gas - was very vulnerable to such a strike.
"We shouldn't wait
until there is a 9/11 in the cyber world. There are things we can and
should be doing right now that, if not prevent, would mitigate the
extent of damage," said Napolitano, speaking at the Wilson Center think tank in Washington and referring to the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Napolitano runs the sprawling Homeland Security Department that was created 10 years ago in the aftermath of September 11 and charged with preventing another such event.
She urged Congress to pass legislation governing cyber security
so the government could share information with the private sector to
prevent an attack on infrastructure, much of which is privately owned.
A cyber security
bill failed in Congress last year after business and privacy groups
opposed it. The measure would have increased information-sharing between
private companies and U.S. intelligence agencies and established
voluntary standards for businesses that control power grids or water
Business groups said the legislation was government overreach. Privacy groups feared it might lead to Internet eavesdropping.
New cyber legislation is being considered, but it is unclear whether it will get through the gridlocked Congress.
Obama is expected to soon issue an executive order that would set up a
voluntary system to help protect some critical infrastructure and offer incentives to companies that participate.
But without a new
law, companies cannot be granted any kind of legal immunity for sharing
information with the government and within the industry about potential
Officials have pointed to recent hacking attacks on U.S. banks as a sign that the cyber threat is real and growing.
"The clarion call is here and we need to be dealing with this very urgently," said Napolitano.
"Attacks are coming all the time. They are coming from different
sources, they take different forms. But they are increasing in
seriousness and sophistication."
Sunday, May 19 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-19 23:54:08 GMT
KHQ.COM - The 2013 Spokane Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade is in the books. >>
KHQ.COM - The 2013 Spokane Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade is in the books. With tens of thousands of people in downtown Spokane watching the parade, the floats, the marching bands, we know you took plenty of pictures! Well, we want to see them!>>
Sunday, May 19 2013 10:30 AM EDT2013-05-19 14:30:26 GMT
KHQ.COM - The results of the 2013 Spokane Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade are coming in. We'll post them as we get them.>>
KHQ.COM - The results of the 2013 Spokane Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade are coming in. We'll post them as we get them. In the meantime, if you have any photos from Saturday night's parade and want to submit them for a slideshow, please send them to email@example.com>>
Sunday, May 19 2013 3:08 PM EDT2013-05-19 19:08:35 GMT
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - At around 8:00am Sunday morning Coeur d'Alene Police Officers were called to 2301 N. 4th St. after receiving a report that a car had driven into the side of a building. >>
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - At around 8:00am Sunday morning Coeur d'Alene Police Officers were called to 2301 N. 4th St. after receiving a report that a car had driven into the side of a building. When emergency responders arrived they found an SUV crashed halfway through the International House Of Pancakes.>>