US Official Cites Cyberattack Risks

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Relatively unsophisticated hackers could eventually disrupt insecure computer networks running parts of vital functions like the power grid, a US intelligence official said in an annual assessment of world-wide threats that gave cybersecurity top billing.

The increasing risk of cyberattacks on critical U.S. infrastructure edged aside al Qaeda and terrorism, which were described as increasingly diffuse threats more likely to harm U.S. interests abroad than at home. The annual assessment was provided by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Cyberattacks from "less advanced but highly motivated actors" could still do great harm, Mr. Clapper said in prepared testimony for the Senate Intelligence Committee, because of the effects on computer networks connected to the one under attack. The report cited cyberassaults last year on the websites of U.S. banks and a more destructive attack on a Saudi oil company that destroyed 30,000 computers as examples of the kinds of disruptions already taking place.

US Official Cites Cyberattack Risks Intelligence Director Warns of Cybersecurity Threats (B&C)