Last updated: October 13, 2012 - 7:57pm
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that the United States was facing the possibility of a “cyber-Pearl Harbor” and was increasingly vulnerable to foreign computer hackers who could dismantle the nation’s power grid, transportation system, financial networks and government.
In a speech at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York, Sec Panetta painted a dire picture of how such an attack on the United States might unfold. He said he was reacting to increasing aggressiveness and technological advances by the nation’s adversaries, which officials identified as China, Russia, Iran and militant groups. Defense officials insisted that Panetta’s words were not hyperbole, and that he was responding to a recent wave of cyberattacks on large American financial institutions. He also cited an attack in August on the state oil company Saudi Aramco, which infected and made useless more than 30,000 computers. But Pentagon officials acknowledged that Sec Panetta was also pushing for legislation on Capitol Hill.
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