By Ian Bush

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) — The United States is not prepared to avert a computer attack on the scale of 9/11, according to a US Senate panel hearing this morning on cybersecurity.

Intelligence lawyer Stewart Baker says there’s a big bullseye on our critical infrastructure.

“An attacker that’s determined could break into our industrial control systems and wreck power systems, pipelines, refineries, water, and sewage,” he said today.

And Baker says that among nation-states, China is the top threat to the US.

And Kevin Mandia, CEO of security firm Mandiant, told Sen. Lindsay Graham he has the evidence.

“Give me two pages of why you say ‘yes,’ and I’m going to take it to the Chinese ambassador and ask him to give me a response,” Graham told Mandia.

Mandia’s reply:  “I’ll give you about 100 pages, sir.”

Mandia calls it a very complicated threat to prevent.  But he and other experts told the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism that better information-sharing between government and private sector computer security firms would lead to quicker action.


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