FBI boss warns online threats will outpace terrorism
Osama bin Online
RSA 2012 The head of the FBI warns that the threat to the US from online attacks will shortly become greater than that posed by terrorists.
"In the not too distant future we anticipate that the cyber threat will pose the number one threat to our country," the FBI's director Robert Mueller told delegates at the RSA 2012 conference in San Francisco. "We need to take lessons learned from terrorism and apply them to cybercrime."
He quoted the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger, who said that the more connected a society becomes – in Seneca's day it was the spread of roads – then the more likely it is that an individual would become a slave to that connectivity.
The same is true of modern society, Mueller said. If the electronic systems on which society relies are removed, the result would be chaos and anarchy, he suggested. Interestingly, this goes against the advice of security guru Bruce Schneier, who pointed out that the purpose of terrorism is to terrorize, and if his phone doesn't work he'd be annoyed, but hardly terrified.
As a society we can't turn back the clock, Mueller said, nor should we try to. Instead, we need to share information and tactics to beat any enemies in the future. To that end, the FBI will make changes to its own force, and push for more changes to business practices from government.
All FBI special agents are now being trained in electronic methods, he said, and those who specialize in the area will get the best possible training. The agency is setting up virtual meeting rooms in which investigators can compare notes and follow up on cases.
In addition, Mueller wants a national breach law, so that when a serious hack takes place, the company hit has a responsibility to let law enforcement know. Currently, 47 states have breach laws of some sort, but the FBI wants this to be standardized across the country. Companies need to share their data on attacks and devise strategy together with law enforcement. ®
"In the not too distant future we anticipate that the cyber threat will pose the number one threat to our country .. We need to take lessons learned from terrorism and apply them to cybercrime".
We want a bigger budget and we're using cyber terrorism as a pretext to spy even more on our own people, who are the real threat to the corpo-facist regime that's currently running the USA.
Re: Bruce Schneier is a twit
I'd be interesting in hearing the context for that quotation. If it's what I think it was, Bruce continued by saying,“building tanks does not mean you fear you could be overrun by a military force right now. It pays to build tanks and it pays to prepare for cyberwar, but I don’t believe that’s a fear we should worry about right now...It’s very easy to invent scare scenarios but this does not mean we should actually be scared by them.”
Re: Bruce Schneier is a twit
I think I'd be a little worried, too, but he does have a point in that we should not be fearful. In all the time that the IRA and the latest brand of twats have been trying to terrorise the British population, they've only managed to terrorise the government (and that only in recent times, it seems). The general population sees it just as an inconvenience.
The same with on-line threats. We won't fear them, but the government should be concerned where national infrastructure is concerned.
But the big lesson from terrorism is that the best approach is to focus on the people who are a threat and on their methods, and to treat the general public as part of the solution, not as part of the problem.