The billions of dollars spent annually on dealing with damage caused by cybercrime constitutes â€œthe greatest transfer of wealth in history,” according to the director of the National Security Agency (NSA), U.S. Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander. He made the comment on Monday at the “Cybersecurity and American Power” event organized by the American Enterprise Institute this Monday.
Alexanderâ€™s speech called for government and private sector attention to areas including improving cyber security legislation, investing more in training cyber experts, setting up a defensive infrastructure and increasing awareness about cyber threats.
He also warned that mobile technological advances come at a high price:
â€œWe have this tremendous opportunity with the devices that we use,â€ he said. â€œWe’re going mobile, but they’re not secure. Our companies use these, our kids use these, we use these devices, and they’re not secure.â€
He emphasized the need for speedy reaction to properly counter potential cyber attacks against the US critical infrastructure and added that civil liberties should not be disregarded altogether in this process.
â€œIt’s like a missile coming into the United States,â€ Alexander said. â€œIf you think about a missile coming into the United States there’s two things you can do. You can take the snail mail approach and say I saw a missile going overhead, looked like it’s headed your way, put a letter in the mail and say ‘how did that turn out?’ Now, cyber is at the speed of light. I’m just saying we perhaps ought to go a little faster. Maybe we can do this in real time, and come up with a construct that you and the American people know, that we’re not looking at civil liberties and privacy, we’re actually trying to figure out when the nation is under attack and what we need to do about it.â€