Washington: The top US cyber-defence official, General Keith Alexander, said on Tuesday that the intensity of attacks on key computers systems showed that hackers are moving from ‘disruption’ to ‘destruction’.
He warned that the news tactics are not just annoyances and can cause severe economic loss.
“We are seeing the threat grow from exploitation to disruption to destruction,” Alexander, director of the National Security Agency and commander of the US Cyber Command told the group at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
He argued that these attacks could impact organisations ranging from stock markets to power grid operators — “all of that is in the realm of the possible.”
“It could overwrite the ability of a system to turn on,” AFP quoted him as saying.
“Think about a company that loses all the data on its system… If you wipe out the data, you wipe out the ability of the system to operate.”
He said the best way to protect against these types of attacks is to implement an information sharing system between the private sector and government agencies – as was proposed in cyber-security legislation that failed this year in Congress.