US Sees New Urgency in Cybersecurity Threats


The Obama administration is increasingly concerned about a wave of digital extortion copycats in the aftermath of the cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, as the government and companies try to navigate unfamiliar territory to fortify defenses against further breaches, reports the Wall Street Journal. A hacking attack related to a comedy film by Sony about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un marked “a real crossing of a threshold” in cybersecurity, said Michael Daniel, the cybersecurity coordinator for the White House National Security Council.

Daniel said some experts fear more of these attacks by “malicious actors.” The administration's concerns are being driven by several emerging trends: the linking to the Internet of everything from electric grids to home thermostats, which creates a new array of areas vulnerable to attack; the increased sophistication and effectiveness of hackers; and a new willingness by adversaries with little to lose in using cyberspace to achieve maximum destruction. The government's approach to cyber-defense is largely piecemeal, often confounding intelligence sharing and making it difficult to coordinate a response. Businesses, meanwhile, want more government help but also want to limit government intrusion.

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