Future cyber attacks could rival 9-11, cripple US, warns Panetta

The Secretary of Defense laid out why the military should be involved in defending critical infrastructure

By , IDG News Service |  Security, cybersecurity, Department of Defense

As a result of the increased focus on cyber security by several government agencies, Panetta said the Department of Defense is in the final stages of revising its rules of engagement in cyberspace. The change is the largest in seven years and will spell out the duty of the military to defend its networks and also the nation should the U.S. come under major cyber attack.

Panetta closed with a call to his audience to share the responsibility to protect cyberspace.

"Ultimately, no one has a greater interest in cyber security than the business that depend on a safe, secure, and resilient global digital infrastructure," he said. "To defend those networks more effectively, we must share information between the government and private sector."

"We've made real progress in sharing information with the private sector, but very frankly, we need Congress to act to ensure that this sharing is timely and comprehensive. Companies should be able to share specific threat information with the government without the prospect of lawsuits hanging over their head. And a key principle must be to protect the fundamental liberties and privacy in cyberspace that we are all duty bound to uphold."

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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