A top CIA official has expressed concerns over the organisation's inability to keep up with the tricks and techniques used by hackers to infiltrate government networks.
At a meeting of Congress yesterday, Lawrence Gershwin, the CIA's top advisor on science and technology issues, said that the hacking community was developing tools and methods capable of infiltrating government networks faster than the CIA can develop countermeasures. "I don't feel very good about our ability to anticipate," he was quoted as saying.
Gershwin also voiced fears over the US Government's reliance on private and public networks. Infiltrators could exploit the crossover point between private and public transfers, he said, or engineer backdoors on private commercial systems.
"While we may be working with American companies on issues at some point, there are contracts and subcontracts. It gets hard to tell who's doing the work for you," he said.
Gershwin warned that foreign governments pose the biggest threat to US networks over the next 10 years, as individual hackers lack the motivation to attack government networks.
Although terrorists stick to tactics that work, "they do very nicely with explosions, so we think largely they're working on that", he explained, adding that such an organisation could catch the Government off guard in the next six months.
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