US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats departs after a classified briefing for the US congressional leadership from FBI and intelligence officials on the FBI probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election held in the US Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, US - REUTERS
Washington (Reuters): The US intelligence chief warned on 13 July that the threat was growing for a devastating cyber assault on critical US infrastructure, saying the “warning lights are blinking red again” nearly two decades after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Russia, China, Iran and North Korea are launching daily cyber strikes on the computer networks of federal, state and local government agencies, US corporations, and academic institutions, said Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
Of the four, “Russia has been the most aggressive foreign actor, no question,” he said.
Coats spoke at the Hudson Institute think tank shortly after the Department of Justice announced the indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence officers on charges of hacking into the computers of the 2016 US presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton and Democratic Party organisations.The indictment and Coats’ comments came three days before US President Donald Trump was to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks in Helsinki, Trump’s first formal summit with Putin.
The summit will begin with one-on-one talks between the two leaders in which Trump has said he will raise the US intelligence assessment that Russia used cyber-attacks and other means to meddle in the 2016 election, a charge Moscow denies.
Coats warned that the possibility of a “crippling cyber-attack on our critical infrastructure” by a foreign actor is growing.