Cyber Attacks 'More Dangerous' Than International Terrorism

Apr 11, 2013, 05:48 ET from World Review

VADUZ, Liechtenstein, April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

The US Defence Department is set to invest more than US$3 billion in security to boost its ability to counter cyber threats. America's national intelligence director, James R. Clapper said such attacks are the 'most immediate threat to the United States'.

Energy and security expert Dr Frank Umbach writes in World Review that: "for the first time, cyber attacks have been listed ahead of international terrorism in the catalogue of dangers."

The US is highly dependent on information technology, and this has left it extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks, he says.

Analysts believe that China poses the greatest threat to the US. "China is suspected of hacking into the computer systems of the US information technology company, Telvent, which monitors more than half the oil and gas pipelines, other utilities and water treatment plants in North America," says Dr Umbach. And a US congressional report named China as 'the most threatening actor in cyberspace'.

Cyber attacks and intrusions into critical energy infrastructures increased at an alarming rate in 2012 - up 52 per cent more than 2011, according to a US government report in January 2013.

Furthermore, between 20 and 30 states have the capability to launch cyber warfare. "These include the USA, China and Russia, some smaller states and numerous medium-sized powers, including Iran and North Korea," adds Dr Umbach.

However, many businesses believe that implementing measures to counter cyber attacks would be too costly. "US Chamber of Commerce counts among the numerous institutions that are lobbying against the imposition of measures by the US government," says Dr Umbach.

But the US government says the first line of defence to avert catastrophic attacks would be to force industry to build robust defences.

Click here to read the full World Review report.

About the Author

World Review author Dr Frank Umbach is a Senior Associate and Head of the Programme "International Energy Security" at the Centre for European Security Strategies (CESS) GmbH, Munich-Berlin and Associate Director of the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS) at King's College, London. He is also a consultant on international energy security and security policies as well as the Asia-Pacific region.


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