Former CIA Director: Biggest Cyberthreat to U.S. is Sony-Type Attacks on Private Firms

By NTK Staff | 05.11.2017 @11:25am

Retired General Michael Hayden named attacks on private companies as the greatest cyber threat to the United States.

Retired General Michael Hayden, the former director of the CIA under Presidents Bush and Obama, said at a Senate hearing Thursday that foreign cyberattacks on private entities are the greatest cyberthreat facing the United States.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) asked the panel to name what they see as the greatest cyberthreat facing the United States today.

Hayden explained that, while it’s always possible that an “apocalyptic attack” would hit U.S. infrastructure, the small likelihood of such an attack undermined any threat it may pose.

Instead, Hayden described the most threatening scenario as “what the North Koreans did against Sony North America, perhaps enriched by new technology and new aggressiveness.”

The former CIA director said the scenario is the “most likely, most dangerous.”

“That’s a foreign government attacking a North American firm to coerce its behavior,” Hayden said. He warned that such attacks could hit multiple firms at the same time, greatly affecting American companies’ independence.

North Korean hackers compromised Sony Pictures’ data system in 2014 in an effort to prevent the release of Seth Rogen’s anti-Kim Jong-un comedy film “The Interview.” The hackers released private communications inside Sony’s information systems, ultimately preventing a theatrical release of the film.

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