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Cyberattacks Could Become as Destructive as 9/11: Panetta

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the Pentagon and American intelligence agencies are seeing an increase in cyber threats that could become as devastating as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks if they aren’t stopped.

“A cyber attack perpetrated by nation states or violent extremist groups could be as destructive as the terrorist attack of 9/11,” Panetta said last night. “Such a destructive cyber terrorist attack could paralyze the nation.”

The Defense Department is drafting new rules that will allow the military to defend U.S. “national interests” in addition to its own computer networks, Panetta said in prepared remarks delivered in New York on board the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier that’s now a museum.

Panetta offered the highest-level confirmation to date of recent cyber attacks on U.S. and international computer networks and faulted Congress for failing to pass comprehensive cybersecurity legislation this year. In the absence of such a law, President Barack Obama’s administration may issue an executive order, Panetta said. More...

10-12-2012 15:50