FBI: Cyber terrorism threat is ‘rapidly expanding’

Director Robert Mueller says collective action needs to be taken to find those responsible

Tags: Cyber crimeEgyptFederal Bureau of Investigation (http://www.fbi.gov)USA
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FBI: Cyber terrorism threat is ‘rapidly expanding’ "No one country, company, or agency can stop cyber crime" - FBI Director Robert Mueller. (Getty Images)
By  Vineetha Menon Published  March 8, 2010

Cyber terrorism has been described as a real threat that is "rapidly growing" by FBI director Robert Mueller, who spoke on the topic at a recent RSA security conference in the United States.

"To date, terrorists have not used the Internet to launch a full-scale cyber attack. But they have executed numerous denial-of-service attacks. And they have defaced numerous websites, including Congress’ website following President Obama’s State of the Union speech....Terrorists have shown a clear interest in pursuing hacking skills. And they will either train their own recruits or hire outsiders, with an eye toward combining physical attacks with cyber attacks," stated Mueller.

The FBI has observed a trend in hackers collecting seemingly random information about a company and its employees. The data is then used to ‘spearphish' employees, where emails are sent pretending to be from co-workers with content that's too tempting to ignore.

"We have seen not only a loss of data, but also corruption of that data. We are concerned with the integrity of your source code. If hackers made subtle, undetected changes to your code, they would have a permanent window into everything you do. The same is true for those with access to hardware and software in the global supply chain," he added. "Some in the industry have likened this to ‘death by a thousand cuts'. We are bleeding data, intellectual property, information, and source code, bit by bit, and in some cases, terabyte by terabyte."

According to Mueller, the answer doesn't lie in just finding better ways to detect and block intrusion attempts but rather to find those responsible.

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation has 56 field offices in the country along with 60 legal attaché offices around the world, including those in the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Last October, the FBI worked with Egyptian authorities to dismantle a computer intrusion and money laundering scheme operating in USA and Egypt, which saw the largest number of defendants ever charged in a cyber-crime case.

"... No one country, company, or agency can stop cyber crime. A ‘bar the windows and bolt the doors' mentality will not ensure our collective safety. Fortresses will not hold forever; walls will one day fall down. We must start at the source; we must find those responsible. The only way to do that is by standing together," added Mueller.

3451 days ago

What a retarded article. The author should be fired for publishing such a useless piece of fluff. After reading the title one expects to find an article dealing with terrorists operating on the Internet. After the first paragraph the article devolves into useless drivel about hackers without even another mention of the initially reported "terrorists".

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