As the world becomes more and more connected, the United States obviously faces threats that are purely cyber in nature. During his keynote at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas today, former FBI agent Shawn Henry made a point of discussing cyber-threats and how the US government can defend against them. The government can't do it alone, however, which is why Henry called on hackers with the know-how to help the country out when it comes to fending off cyber-attacks.
"I believe that the threat from computer network attack is the most significant threat we face as a society," Henry said. "Other than a weapon of mass destruction, I think it’s the most significant threat there is." Henry told the audience of 6,500 that the government needed "warriors" to help fight the battle against cyber-terrorists, who he claims are "calling for the use of cyber as a weapon." That's a pretty scary notion, considering that a cyber-terrorist who knows what he's doing can cripple a nation without ever having to pick up a gun or put someone in the line of fire.
Henry claims that the United States is failing at keeping our data secure, saying that we need to come up with a defense that works on multiple levels, instead of simply attempting to keep attackers out like we are now. He clarified that he wasn't condoning cyber-attacks against other nations, but rather that he thinks we can make a hostile environment for cyber-terrorists to work in right here at home.
"The government is not able to independently solve this problem, and civilians are on the front line of the battle every day," he said. "I believe that our failure to step up now will be a failure for society."