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Hurricane Sandy is an example of a cyberattack chaos

Department of Homeland Security SecretaryJanet Napolitano said the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy should serve as an example of the scale of chaos that could result from a cyberattack on U.S.critical infrastructure. “One of the possible areas of attack, of course, is attacks on our nation’s control systems — the control systems that operateour utilities, our water plants, our pipelines, our financial institutions,” Napolitano said at a Washington Post cybersecurity event last Wednesday. “If you think that a critical systems attack that takes down a utility even for a few hours is not serious, just look at what is happening now that Mother Nature has taken out those utilities.”

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Napolitano also warned that U.S. financial institutions are “actively under attack” from hackers, and reiterated that President Obama will consider an executive order covering cybersecurity “when” he is reelected. However, she pushed Congress to also move forward on the matter quickly, noting that “there are some things that only legislation can provide,” such as liability protection for firms that adopt best practices. The Senate plans to revisit cybersecurity next month during the lame-duck session, but critics are skeptical of progress before next years.

Source: Center on National Security, Fordham Law School

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