Panetta Cyber Warning

Citing a series of “disruptive” attacks against U.S. companies, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta detailed the far more serious so-called “Shamoon” virus attack on the Saudi Arabian state oil company, Aramco. That August strike wiped out 30,000 of the companies computers. It created the image of a U.S. flag in flames on the infected computers and “it basically burned [the computers] up,” making them completely inoperable
Panetta said that it marked a significant escalation in cyber warfare. Private-sector companies wonder if the government is exaggerating the threat. They seem willing to wait for an “electronic Pearl Harbor” to justify the investments they would need to make to protect their info-infrastructure. But Panetta and others fear that could be too late.
Panetta’s clarion call warned that cyber attacks that can cripple a country are no longer theoretical, and that Americans needed to “wake up to the growing threat.” Computer attackers have already gained access to the systems that control America’s chemical and water plants, and that control transportation systems.

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