At a recent speaking event, Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security stated, “The U.S. has become ‘categorically safer’ since 9/11, but cyber-terrorism now tops the list of security concerns.”
Her view is shared by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Security Preparedness Group. “Ten years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the nation faces a critical threat to its security from cyber-attacks,” the group asserts in a new report.
With its study, the group set about to determine the government’s progress in implementing security recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.
The report, released by Lee Hamilton, a former Democratic representative from Indiana, and Thomas Kean, former governor of New Jersey, underscores that cyber-attacks against U.S. critical infrastructure is a viable circumstance and should be taken seriously.
“This is not science fiction,” the group said in the report. “It is possible to take down cyber systems and trigger cascading disruptions and damage.”
The report stated, “Defending the U.S. against such attacks must be an urgent priority.”
As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 draws closer, security experts are warning that cyber attacks as well as cyber-frauds should be an area of concern for companies and consumers. For example, IT Security Firm BitDefender warns the first wave of these attacks comes in the form of the newly established websites offering supposed content such as “Bin Laden alive,” “in-depth details about the terrorist attack,” “police investigation results” and “towers going down” to attract the curious victims for malware distribution.
In addition, others have created fraudulent charity donation sites to take money from generous and concerned consumers.
Despite the warning, some in the information security industry worry the government is not giving the warnings credible study.
Cofer Black, director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center during the Bush administration, warned that cyber threats were not being taken seriously. “It was the same sort of skepticism that many government officials had shown toward the alarms sounded prior to Sept. 11, 2001,” Black said.