- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
Cyber ‘mass shooter’ poses future threat to computer security, ex-intel official says
Question of the Day
The fastest-growing cyber threat is from a kind of digital mass shooter, a deranged or outraged hacker able to obtain cyberweapons currently available only to nation-states and organized crime, a former senior U.S. intelligence official said Thursday.
"They're just mad, they're mad at the world," said retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden. "They may have demands that you or I cannot understand."
Mr. Hayden warned that within five years hackers "will acquire the [cyberattack] capabilities that we now associate with criminal gangs or nation states," such as being able to conduct online sabotage of industrial control systems that run power plants, factories and utilities.
U.S. intelligence chiefs have fretted publicly about the vulnerability to such attacks on the nation's industries, financial systems and communication networks, saying they could cause casualties and mass dislocation.
Other analysts say that the kind of total war envisioned in such attacks against the civilian population would not be in the interest of any nation-state, and that terrorists lack the capability to stage them.
But the warning from Mr. Hayden — who held several intelligence posts under President George W. Bush — raises the prospect that a lone, unbalanced hacker might seek to generate chaos, for example, contaminating the water supply of a major city.
Mr. Hayden, who headed the CIA and the National Security Agency at different times, spoke at a cybersecurity panel discussion organized and webcast by The Washington Post.
His warning was echoed by Craig Mundie, a senior adviser to the CEO of Microsoft Corp. and fellow panelist.
Mr. Mundie said that, when a cyberweapon is used, "every bad guy in the world gets to watch."
And because of that, "this [cyberattack] capability escalates globally very rapidly," he said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
- Senator's memo shows Iran links in Homeland Security's troubled immigration program
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- Dems back bill to fix problems in investor visa program
- Democrats proceed with Mayorkas vote despite pending investigation
- NSA monitored 'World of Warcraft' players
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Scott Pinsker
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Babson College, BYU win top spots in Money magazine's college rankings
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- White House defends Kerry failure to broker Middle East cease-fire
- Romney would win popular vote in rematch against Obama: CNN poll
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Computer glitch caused odd Saturday release of D.C. guns ruling
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq