On Tuesday, top American spy officials said cyberattacks are getting worse — and it’s time to set basic international rules to prevent a future catastrophe.
“Cyber threats to U.S. national and economic security are increasing in frequency, scale, sophistication and severity of impact,” U.S. national intelligence director James Clapper warned the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Cold War-era spying continues. Every nation does it — including the United States — and professional government hacker spies play a lead role.
But nations haven’t yet figured out what kind of hacking goes too far. Secretly gaining control of a nuclear power plant’s computers? Stealing highly private personnel records?
And, most importantly, when does hacking become an act of war? “We’re still working our way through that issue,” said U.S. Navy Admiral Mike Rogers, who also testified.
Rogers leads the NSA and America’s military hacking operations. When a senator asked him about defining a red line, Rogers said: “It has to be something that’s communicated that generates… a sense of consequence” and deters attackers from hacking in the first place.
Without that, cyberattacks will continue at an alarming pace, officials warned.
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