Bank of America’s online banking site was on the fritz Tuesday amid Internet threats that a group was planning to launch cyber attacks on the bank and other U.S. targets. The cause: “The Innocence of Muslims” film, a small Internet film mocking the Prophet Mohammad, that has cause violence throughout the Middle East. The culprits, claiming to represent “cyber fighters of Izz ad-din Al qassam” said it would attack Bank of America and the New York Stock Exchange in a campaign against properties of “American-Zionist Capitalists.” But other reports said although hacker groups were claiming responsibility for the outage, there was no evidence to support those claims.
When it comes to cyber security, America undoubtedly needs to shore up its defenses, particularly to prevent economic espionage. Watch Mike McConnell, vice chairman of Booz Allen Hamilton and former Director of National Intelligence (DNI), talk about how to boost our cybersecurity defenses and the state of America’s intelligence program:
American research and development, source code, and innovation is “literally being bled out of the country at a terabit level,” McConnell said.
McConnell, who oversees Booz Allen Hamilton’s growing cyber business, said nation states have stolen America’s cyber secrets and in the area of cyber security, the United States is incredibly vulnerable.
“As the world has become more connected, particularly in the United States, there’s a high level of vulnerability, particularly critical infrastructure,” said McConnell, who served as DNI under both Presidents Bush and Obama. “As we’ve benefited from the information technology revolution … the fact it’s connected increased our level of vulnerability.”
The intelligence community, in the U.S., however, is the “best and strongest in the world,” he said. ”While I was in it I believed it was the best and when I got to lead it, I was absolutely convinced – assured – it was the best. That said, there’s room for improvement.”
Although America has historically not maintained a strong intelligence community, that has changed since World War II and through the Cold War, and the need was reinforced even more so after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“America has a leadership role,” McConnell said. “With our ethics and values of democracy and human rights and so on, if you’re going to be influential in the world, you need to know what’s going on in the world.”
genConnect was credentialed press at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo., where we interviewed the premier speakers and attendees at the conference. For more of our video interviews and articles from the Ideas Festival, click here.
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