reports that the Executive Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Shawn Henry has said that "fighting on the future battleground has been harder than we initially thought."
Henry has been a special agent with the FBI since 1989. He is now leaving the organization after over 20 years of working in cybersecurity, and claims that the U.S. is simply "not winning".
On the FBI news website
, Henry said that he believes “the cyber threat is an existential one, meaning that a major cyber-attack could potentially wipe out whole companies.”
During a press conference on Wednesday he advised that the FBI has managed to obtain data of companies that have been targeted by hackers. He said that the businesses themselves were previously unaware of what had happened.
In a report to The Raw Story
Henry said: “They are shocked and, in many cases, they’ve been breached for many months, in some cases years, which means that an adversary had full visibility into everything occurring on that network, potentially.”
Henry told the Wall Street Journal: “I don’t see how we ever come out of this without changes in technology or changes in behavior, because with the status quo, it’s an unsustainable model. Unsustainable in that you never get ahead, never become secure; never have a reasonable expectation of privacy or security.”
This announcement by Henry comes following the ongoing cyber-security policy debates. Key lawmakers in the U.S. have been pushing for new ways to better regulate online security policies. The Pentagon has already started research and development on a new "next-generation cyberweapon", which is in the preliminary stages. If this weapon is successful, it would be capable of knocking out enemy networks, whether they are connected to the internet, or not.
The FBI has alleged that hacktivist groups like LulzSec and Anonymous could bring down the country's power grid. While the hacktivists have brought the issue to light through their recent waves of hacking the U.S. government websites, and downloading huge data dumps disclosing individual's private information, they have stated that they have no intentions of bringing down the country's power grid, and that this is almost impossible.
Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defence, is claiming that “the next Pearl Harbor we [US] confront could be a cyber-attack.” He has been criticized for his remarks by persons who say his claims are "fear-mongering".
In this vein the U.S. military has claimed that it will "meet a cyber-attack with a physical boots on the ground if the attack comes from overseas."
With the attempt to introduce internet censorship bills, such as SOPA and PIPA, and the plan for internet providers to "punish" their clients for copyright infringement, these hacking attacks can only get worse.
On this point, RIAA CEO Cary Sherman has recently confirmed that the largest internet providers in the U.S. will have their policies in place by July 12, 2012.
Henry concluded his report by saying: “[You] never get ahead, never become more secure, never have a reasonable expectation of privacy or security.”
As Henry leaves the FBI to pursue other opportunities out in the private sector, he is not the only one stating that the cyber-threat is a growing concern.
has reported that "while the number of hackers arrested around the world seems to be growing, the attacks keep coming.”
Seems you arrest one hacker, and two will appear in his place.