NSA veteran chief fears crippling cyber-attack on Western energy infrastructure


April 26, 2015

The West lacks a shield against formidable foes and is losing the battle against Jihadi terrorism as chaos spreads across the Middle East

The West is losing the worldwide fight against jihadist terrorism and faces mounting risks of a systemic cyber-assault by extremely capable enemies, the former chief of the National Security Agency has warned.

“The greatest risk is a catastrophic attack on the energy infrastructure. We are not prepared for that,” said General Keith Alexander, who has led the US battle against cyber-threats for much of the last decade.

Gen Alexander said the “doomsday” scenario for the West is a hi-tech blitz on refineries, power stations, and the electric grid, perhaps accompanied by a paralysing blow to the payments nexus of the major banks.

“We need something like an integrated air-defence system for the whole energy sector,” he said, speaking at a private dinner held by IHS CERAWeek in Texas.

More insidiously, there is now a systematic effort by state-backed hacking teams to steal technology from Western companies. “This is the biggest wealth transfer in history,” he said.

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