* Rogers says Iran developing worrying cyber espionage
* Classified briefings could revive stalled cybersecurity
By Jim Wolf
WASHINGTON, Oct 4 The head of the House of
Representatives Intelligence Committee said on Thursday that
significant new cyber threats to U.S. financial networks
appeared to be emerging from an "unusual" source.
Committee Chairman Mike Rogers did not specifically identify
the purported new threat nor its origin but referred several
times to what he described as Iran's growing cyber espionage
"I think they're (Iran) closer than we'd all like them to be
to come in and cause trouble on our financial services
networks," the Michigan Republican told a cybersecurity
conference hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Classified briefings about the possible new
keyboard-launched threats may have revived prospects for stalled
measures aimed at boosting cybersecurity in the "lame duck"
congressional session after the Nov. 6 election, he said.
These secret briefings for lawmakers have highlighted a
"threat that would target networks here from an unusual -
careful here - source that has some very real consequences if we
are not capable to deal with it," he said.
The concern was with nation states that are gaining a
cyberwarfare capability beyond those that "we often talk about"
Rogers said. An unclassified U.S. intelligence report last year
said the governments of China and Russia were expected to remain
"aggressive and capable" collectors of U.S. trade secrets,
particularly in cyberspace.
Iran says it has been adding to its cyber clout since its
disputed nuclear program was damaged in 2010 by malicious
computer code known as Stuxnet, reliably reported to have been
developed by the United States.
A U.S. financial services industry group last month warned
banks, brokerages and insurers to be on heightened alert for
cyber attacks after the websites of Bank of America and JPMorgan
Chase experienced service disruptions.
Customers of Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase &
Co, Wells Fargo & Co, U.S. Bancorp and
PNC Financial Services have reported trouble accessing
their websites, as unusually high traffic appeared to crash or
slow down the systems in the past two weeks.
Rogers on Thursday reiterated his concerns about alleged
Chinese cyber theft of U.S. trade secrets, describing Beijing as
"ferocious about seeking information." He also cited what he
called media reports that China likely was behind a disruption
of a White House computer system disclosed this week.
"What people don't realize is that we are in war today in
cyberspace," he said. "And this is the biggest national security
threat I can think of that we are not prepared to handle in this
A Senate bill backed by President Barack Obama that would
have allowed for greater information-sharing between
intelligence agencies and private companies has met opposition
from both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which objected to
additional regulation, and the American Civil Liberties Union,
which is worried about privacy issues.
Rogers and Representative C.A. Ruppersberger, the top
Democrat on the committee, have introduced separate bipartisan
legislation that would clear the private sector to share
information on cyber threats with the federal government and
others on a voluntary basis.