The information technology infrastructure in the US, including air traffic control systems, power grids, financial systems, and military and intelligence cyber networks, is highly vulnerable to terrorist and criminal attacks, an article in the August issue of IEEE-USA Today's Engineer has warned.
"The country's problem with cyber security is very serious, and is going to get worse in the next five years before it gets any better," IEEE-USA Research & Development Policy Committee chair Cliff Lau said.
"I would say the situation is not only alarming, but is almost out of control."
The article, which includes interviews with two members of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC), notes that 100,000 known viruses and worms exist, and that some major end users are throwing out infected systems rather than trying to fix them.
Nevertheless, according to PITAC, there is little federal budgetary support for fundamental research to address the security vulnerabilities of the civilian IT infrastructure, including defence systems.
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