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TMCNet:  Cyber threats greater than ever

[April 21, 2011]

Cyber threats greater than ever

Apr 21, 2011 (Star Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Gordon Snow, assistant director of the FBI's cyber division, recently gave an update to a U.S. Senate subcommittee on the cyber threats facing the United States and the FBI's efforts to protect government and private-sector computer networks against savvy cyber criminals.

The frugality of modern journalism won't let me tell you everything Snow had to say. So, in the words of the "Princess Bride's" Inigo Montoya, "Let me sum up" with some key points: The number and sophistication of cyber attacks has increased dramatically over the past five years and is expected to keep growing. Given enough time, motivation and funding, a determined adversary likely will be able to penetrate any system that is accessible directly from the Internet, Snow said.

The recent breach by intruders into the parent company of NASDAQ is an example of the kind of breaches directed against financial infrastructure. It also illustrates the difficulty of finding the culprit. The FBI is working to identify the scope of the intrusion and assist the victims.

"The FBI has identified the most significant cyber threats to our nation as those with high intent and high capability to inflict damage or death in the U.S., to illicitly acquire assets, or to illegally obtain sensitive or classified U.S. military, intelligence, or economic information," Snow said.

Threats to the United States result in significant economic losses. But the threat against financial institutions is only part of the problem.

Threats to critical infrastructure and the theft of intellectual property are of great concern, he said.

New "smart grid" and "smart home" products that are designed to provide remote control of devices in our homes, businesses and infrastructures must be developed and implemented in ways that will also provide protection from unauthorized use.

The FBI is working with 20 agencies to combat the threat.

To read Snow's complete message, see www.star tribune.com/a309.

James Walsh --612-673-7428 To see more of the Star Tribune, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.startribune.com/. Copyright (c) 2011, Star Tribune, Minneapolis Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For more information about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT), visit www.mctinfoservices.com.

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