- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cybersecurity is the new terrorism, and the security threat from online hackers is starting to become the nation’s biggest headache, said intelligence officials during a Tuesday hearing in the Senate.

It’s “grown to be right up there” with terrorism, said Federal Bureau of Investigations Director Robert Mueller, who said cybersecurity risks now keep him awake at night, in a Wall Street Journal report.

National Intelligence Director James Clapper agreed. He said, the WSJ reports: “These capabilities put all sectors of our country at risk — from government and private networks to critical infrastructures.”

The testimony was aimed at urging Congress to act. National Security Agency and Cyber Command head Gen. Keith Alexander told the Senate he needs money to seat 40 online support teams by 2015 — and the request is imperative, despite federal budget woes and sequester politics. An estimated 25 percent of Cyber Command’s budget is on the cutting board, due to the sequester, Newser reports.

Thirteen of those teams, he said, in a Newser report, would have a specific mission of defending against cyberattacks.

“I would like to be clear that this team is an offensive team,” the general said, in a Newser report.

SEE ALSO: The Cyber Strikes Back: Pentagon to go on offense against cyberattacks

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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