Hackers are believed to be working with foreign governments to take down U.S. infrastructure or break into U.S. computer systems, according to a Cyber Command statement to the members of Congress.
Adm. Michael S. Rogers, head of U.S. Cyber command, believes criminals groups are being used to conduct cybercriminal activities against the United States on behalf of foreign governments, allowing state-sponsors to plead plausible deniability when confronted. While the Admiral did not point to specific countries, he did say Russian government hacking endeavors bear resemblance to cybercriminal practices.
“Russia has very capable cyber operators who can and do work with speed, precision and stealth,” said Adm. Michael S. Rogers. “Russia is also home to a substantial segment of the world’s most sophisticated cybercriminals, who have found victims all over the world.”
Amongst prime suspects, the U.S. Government has often mentioned China, Iran and North Korea as foreign governments that have been related to cybercriminal activities aimed at either at government institutions or U.S. citizens.
These statements were made before the House Armed Services Committee when requesting a new budget for the Cyber Command to fight against cybercriminal actions by Islamic cyberterrorists. With a budget of over $500 million approved for 2016, USCYBERCOM is expected to reach operational peak by fall 2018.
“USCYBERCOM is executing orders to make it more difficult for ISIL to plan or conduct attacks against the U.S. or our allies from their bases in Iraq and Syria to keep our service men and women safer,” the Admiral said. “We at USCYBERCOM are thinking more strategically about shifting our response planning from fighting a war to also providing decision makers with options to deter and forestall a conflict before it begins.”