Panetta: 'Foreign Cyber-Actors Are Probing America's Critical Infrastructure' | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Panetta: 'Foreign Cyber-Actors Are Probing America's Critical Infrastructure'

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta delivered a policy speech that he said was a "clarion call" for Americans to take cyber security seriously. Attacks that can cripple a country, he said, are no longer theoretical.

According to The Washington Post, Panetta acknowledged an attack by the Shamoon virus for the first time in his speech on Thursday. He said the malware targeted Aramco, the Saudi Arabian state oil company, and rendered more than 30,000 computers "permanently inoperable."

The Post adds:

"Such attacks have 'renewed concerns about still more destructive scenarios that could unfold' against the United States, he said in an address to business executives in New York. He asked them to 'imagine the impact an attack like this would have on your company.'

Panetta's remarks on the Middle East incidents were the first from any administration official acknowledging them. In the attack on Aramco, the virus replaced crucial system files with an image of a burning U.S. flag, he said. It also overwrote the files with 'garbage' data, he said."

In an interview with Time about the speech, Panetta said Americans needed to "wake up to the growing threat."

"The whole point of this is that we simply don't just sit back and wait for a goddamn crisis to happen," Panetta told Time. "In this country we tend to do that, and that's a concern."

He added that some countries are developing the kind of capabilities that could "virtually paralyze a country."

In his piece for Morning Edition, NPR's Larry Abramson reported that Panetta said the Pentagon is deciding on how and when to respond to these attacks. Panetta also called on Congress to pass "higher computer security standards for industry." If Congress doesn't do it, Panetta said, President Obama should use an executive order to accomplish it.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Sandwich Monday: The Funnel Cake Corn Dog

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try a new twist on a classic. It's a corn dog that uses funnel cake in place of corn meal to encase a hot dog.
NPR

Sandwich Monday: The Funnel Cake Corn Dog

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try a new twist on a classic. It's a corn dog that uses funnel cake in place of corn meal to encase a hot dog.
NPR

Sen. Mikulski, 'Ground-Breaker' For Women Legislators, Won't Seek Re-Election

"Do I spend my time raising money, or do I spend my time raising hell?" the Maryland Democrat asked, announcing she will not seek a sixth term in the Senate.
NPR

Free Wi-Fi On Buses Offers A Link To Future Of 'Smart Cities'

A new service in a Portuguese city not only provides commuters with free Internet connections but it also helps collect data that makes the municipality run more efficiently.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.