The top U.S. military officer urged private businesses and lawmakers Thursday to do more to protect the nation from cyber threats, saying "intrusions" into critical networks have increased 17-fold in the last two years.
"The computer control systems that operate our chemical, electrical, water and transport sectors have all been probed. Several intruders have successfully gained system access," Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the Brookings Institution.
More than 20 nations have military units dedicated to employing cyber warfare, he said.
In response, the U.S. military is increasing its cyber capabilities by adding 4,000 cyber operators to its ranks over the next four years and investing $23 billion in cyber security.
President Obama also has signed a directive that outlines how each part of the government will respond to a cyberattack, and the military is updating its rules of engagement for the first time in seven years, Gen. Dempsey said.
The general also appealed to private industry to share information with the government about cyberattacks they experience.
"Right now, threat information primarily runs in one direction — from the government to operators of critical infrastructure. Very little information flows back to the government. This must change. We can't stop an attack we can't see," he said.
"The reality is that every day adversaries are injecting malware [malicious software] into our networks. The worst of this malware is equivalent to cyber bullets and bombs. We must share what it looks like so we can stop it before it detonates."
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