FBI director says U.S. must create effective response against cyber threats

The U.S. must create an effective response against cyberterrorism that works against multiple circumstances, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller said on Thursday.

Mueller joined with the heads of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency on Thursday at a keynote roundtable hosted by the FBI and Fordham University in New York City. Mueller made a prediction that cyber threats would equal or eclipse terrorist threats in the near future.

"As you have discussed this week, these criminals are constantly discovering and exploiting vulnerabilities in our software and our networks," Mueller said. "They have also become increasingly professional: they are organized... they network... and they share tools, stolen data, and know-how."

Mueller said the U.S. must focus on the people participating in these crimes and use traditional law enforcement and intelligence capabilities to find and stop the perpetrators.

"We must remember that behind every intrusion is a person responsible... a warm body behind the keyboard, whether he or she sits in Tehran or Tucson; Shanghai or Seattle; Bucharest or the Bronx," Mueller said. "(Whether these individuals are) state actors, organized criminal groups, or 18-year-old hackers, we must devise a response that is effective, not just against that specific attack, but for all similar circumstances."

Mueller said the U.S. found some success against cyber threats through successful joint ventures like the Domestic Security Alliance Council, InfraGuard and the National Cyber Investigative Task Force. He said the U.S. must keep expanding its channels of information sharing and collaboration.

"Only by sharing intelligence swiftly will we be able to forecast coming attacks-and deter future ones," Mueller said. "By fusing private-sector information with information from the intelligence community, we can produce a complete picture of cyber threats-one that benefits all of us."