CIA: Attacks Aren't Predictable

    Date26 Jun 2001
    CategoryGovernment
    3244
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    The CIA cannot predict computer attacks on U.S. systems before they happen, as the agency is expected to do with political and military events, a top CIA official told Congress on Thursday. Despite a major increase in intelligence efforts dedicated to . . . The CIA cannot predict computer attacks on U.S. systems before they happen, as the agency is expected to do with political and military events, a top CIA official told Congress on Thursday. Despite a major increase in intelligence efforts dedicated to computer security, attackers still develop new tools and techniques faster than the CIA can keep up, Lawrence K. Gershwin said.

    Often, "we end up detecting it after it's happened," said Gershwin, the CIA's top adviser on science and technology issues. "I don't feel very good about our ability to anticipate."

    Gershwin told the Joint Economic Committee that foreign governments are the most potent threat to U.S. computers for the next five to 10 years, rather than terrorists or lone troublemakers.

    So far, he said, individual hackers don't have the skills or the motive to make a major attack against U.S. infrastructure like the telephone system or financial networks. And since terrorists want immediate and predictable results, they will stick with their current attacks for the foreseeable future.

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