FBI chief warns of threat of terror cyber attack
FBI Director Robert Mueller warned US lawmakers Wednesday that
violent extremists could try to carry out cyber attacks on the United
States and the nation needed to be prepared.
“To date, terrorists have not used the Internet to launch a
full-scale cyber attack, but we cannot underestimate their intent,”
Mueller told a House appropriations subcommittee.
"They may seek to train their own recruits or hire outsiders, with an
eye toward pursuing cyber attacks.
"As our nation's national security and criminal adversaries
constantly adapt and evolve, so must the FBI be able to respond with new
or revised strategies and operations to counter these threats," Mueller
said, presenting the FBI's 2013 budget.
Al-Qaeda recruits and other extremists "are not hiding in the shadows
of cyber space," Mueller added, pointing to the group's use of online
chat rooms and websites to "recruit and radicalize followers to commit
acts of terrorism." He noted militants have shown interest in hacking
skills, making "the FBI's counterterrorism mission that much more
difficult and challenging." He also highlighted that Al-Qaeda's lethal
Yemen-based branch publishes an English-language online magazine,
"Inspire," while Shebab militants linked to Al-Qaeda in Somalia use
Twitter to "taunt its enemies -- in English -- and encourage terrorist
activity." The FBI has seen an 84 percent increase in the number of
computer intrusion investigations opened, according to Mueller. The
bureau also has cyber squads in each of its 56 field offices, as well as
over 1,000 specially trained staff running undercover operations and
examining digital evidence.
On Tuesday, US officials charged five alleged computer hackers in
Britain, Ireland and the United States in high-profile cyberattacks
after a leader of the group became an FBI informant. AFP