Cyber attacks on private sector reaching a tipping point: U.S. commander

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - A senior U.S. military commander says cyber attacks on private businesses are growing in size and frequency — so much so that Western governments may have to step in and defend them.

Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of U.S. Cyber Command, says so-called "denial of service" attacks and the theft of corporate secrets have exploded since 2008.

The U.S. government is considering more aggressive action, such a trade sanctions, in response to a relentless hacking campaign that is apparently linked to the Chinese government.

But the former head of the ultra-secret Canadian Communications Security Establishment, the electronic eavesdropping arm of National Defence, says there is a lot of misunderstanding about threats in today's wired world.

John Adams, who is also a retired Canadian general, says the world is a long way from cyber warfare because it's very difficult to "weaponize" software code.

Adams says it's also very difficult to pin cyber assaults on individual countries or institutions.