NSA Chief Says Today’s Cyber Attacks Amount to ‘Greatest Transfer of Wealth in History’

The general in charge of the National Security Agency on Monday said the lack of national cybersecurity leglislation is costing us big and amounting to what he believes is “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.”

U.S. Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander urged politicians to stop stalling on approving a much-needed cybersecurity law – of which various versions currently are circulating in Congress. At the same time, he implored private companies to better cooperate with government agencies, many of whom remain mum because of privacy concerns.  

The general in charge of the National Security Agency on Monday said the lack of national cybersecurity leglislation is costing us big and amounting to what he believes is “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.”

U.S. Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander urged politicians to stop stalling on approving a much-needed cybersecurity law – of which various versions currently are circulating in Congress. At the same time, he implored private companies to better cooperate with government agencies, many of whom remain mum because of privacy concerns.  

“We can do the protection of civil liberties and privacy and cybersecurity as a nation. Not only that we can, but I believe it’s something that we must do,” Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.

“So this cybersecurity legislation coming up is going to be very important to the future of this country,” he continued.

Alexander stressed that businesses, particularly Internet service providers and private companies, must communicate intrusions and suspicious network behavior in real time to government agencies if they are going to protect everyone from increasingly sophisticated threats, especially those posed by insecure mobile devices that are now the norm in U.S. enterprises.

“If the critical infrastructure community is being attack by something, we need them to tell us – at network speed,” Alexander said during a keynote address. “It doesn’t require the government to read their mail – or your mail – to do that.

“It has to be at network speed if you’re going to stop it.”

The Army general also outlined the huge financial toll companies now face.

“Symantec placed the cost of IP theft to United States companies at $250 billion a year,” he said. “Global cybercrime at $114 billion – nearly $388 billion when you factor in downtime. And McAfee estimates that $1 trillion was spent globally on remediation. And that’s our future disappearing in front of us.”

The Army general, who also heads the U.S. Cyber Command, used his speech to also quell rumors that a new, $2 billion data center in Bluffdale, Utah would collect Americans’ e-mails and Web usage histories.

“We don’t store data on U.S. citizens,” he said. “That’s baloney. … That’s ludicrous.”

However, “I’m not going to come out and say what we are doing” at NSA, he added. “That would be ludicrous, too.”

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Discussion

  • f0real on

    Why are we placing cybersecurity policy decision making in the hands of moronic idiots that we call senators and representatives? These people don't even understand what cyberspace or cybersecurity is, so why should they make these decisions?
  • Brian G on

    "increasingly sophisticated threats, especially those posed by insecure mobile devices that are now the norm in U.S. enterprises"

    FUD anyone?

  • Anonymous on

    "the greatest transfer of wealth in history"?  I don't get it.  He's talking about IP theft, "the cost of IP theft to United States companies at $250 billion a year".  Alright.  I understand what he's saying.  But that weatlh isn't really being trasferred, just not harvested by US industry.  Sensationalistic crap like this turns me offf.

  • Anonymous on

    Is there anyone out there who's leading the parade that understands how to develop a culture based on protecting our personal and professional data? Its mid-2012 and 70% of corporations place little to no effort protecting their data and more importantly the data of others they have collected from unauthorized copying. Of the remaining 25% only 13% actually put effort and funds toward the control over portable memory devices like eSata drives, thumbdrives and wifi or bluetooth connection ability. It's a simple fix by using a application that allows the management of the actual endpoints. It's a nuisance if you are the one just trying to get the job done, that's understandable. Taking work out of the office for business or to work at home has to be an easy process but done so in an intelligent straightforward secure manner. It's not brain surgery making the reasoning to allow data to be so open to misuse is simply puzzling. I love to know the reasoning.

  • Anonymous on

    since they can't look after our data correctly with very little punishment for being sloppy with our privacy. 

    wouldnt it be interesting to see what happened if we just turned off.. "unplugged"

    crazy i know..

    really the monatary system is to blame..

    money is the root of all evils.. 

     

     

     

  • Anonymous on

    Say what ?

    Cyber attacks ammount to Greatest Transfer of Wealth in History ?

    I thought Obama did that !

     

  • Anonymous on

    What's nsa really after?

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