Continued from page 1

U.S. corporations were victims of cyber-attacks, including Google, Lockheed Martin and Booz Allen Hamilton, and some have lost valuable intellectual property through cybertheft and espionage.

The threat is increasing as the use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers increases.

“Here’s what concerns me: What we’re seeing is destructive [digital] payloads coming out, payloads that can make a blue screen of death, that can stop your operating system, your router or peripheral devices,” Gen. Alexander said.

Mobile devices increase the problem by “orders of magnitude” because of the lack of security built up over the past decade for desktop devices, he said.

Both are connected to networks, “and the issues we are going to see are huge,” Gen. Alexander said.

Shawn Henry, FBI executive assistant director for cyber-issues and a conference speaker, said a better network architecture is needed to identify cybercriminals who can operate anonymously.

Mr. Henry also called for better “assurance” for Internet communications to prevent someone from breaking into links that control key infrastructure. For example, computer communications between a technician remotely directing an electrical facility need better security, he said.

“The Internet was developed with protocols allowing for anonymity and there are legitimate reasons for wanting it that way,” Mr. Henry said. “But for those critical uses of the Internet where intrusion is entirely unacceptable and we must be able to identify the users, market-driven factors may prompt the private sector to explore solutions and alternate architectures to meet those needs.”

“We need a more secure architecture that allows for absolute attribution,” he said. “Threats are continuing to increase and we cannot constantly play defense.”