In the U.S. intelligence community’s annual review of worldwide threats, normally terrorism would be at the top of the list. But now, the nation’s top officials believe that cyber-attacks are now a greater threat to national security than terrorism, organized crime and the propagation of weapons of mass destruction.
While the issue of the Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups has been on the top of the list since September of 2001, James Clapper who is director of national intelligence believes that counter-terrorist operations “have degraded core Al Qaeda to a point that the group is probably unable to carry out complex, large-scale attacks in the West.” However, the officials still warn that despite these setbacks, terrorist groups are still constantly adjusting their tactics in order to target the West.
On the other hand, the reason why cyber-attacks have topped the list is the growing worry that poorly protected U.S. networks that control core functions can could cause numerous disruptions, such as the power grid. Cyber-attacks could also likely attack infrastructures for transportation systems and financial networks.
This comes after some recent cyber-attacks on numerous U.S. based organizations, most of which were attributed to (and traced) China. It’s also another indication of how technology has severely changed our world — a hacker on his computer can be just as dangerous as a man with a gun, it seems.