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US 'Long-Term Competitiveness' At Risk Over Cyber Attacks

UNIVERSAL CITY (CBS) — Security experts at a summit on cyber-crime on Wednesday warned the economic growth of U.S. companies could be at risk from emerging threats online.

KNX 1070's Vytas Safronikas reports one official from the Department of Homeland Security had a stark warning for business owners.


"Take it seriously, make the investments," said DHS cyber-security counselor Bruce McConnell. "I think the key thing is to look at cyber security and manage it just like you manage other risks, financial risks, reputation risks."

McConnell was the featured speaker at the fourth annual Information Security Summit held at the Universal City Hilton, where the theme of "The Growing Cyber Threat: Protect Your Business" sought to instruct entrepreneurs and other information security professionals on the imporance of safeguarding sensitive content posted online.

In addition to financial fraud, McConnell also warned of the risks of copyright theft, especially for media firms.

"We're losing a lot of intellectual property from cyber theft, and I think that's very worrisome from the long-term competitiveness of the U.S." he said. "It's very serious."

McConnell, who was joined by Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, at the conference held by the Los Angeles chapter of the Information Systems Security Association, also noted that the vast majority of companies are largely unwilling to admit when their systems have been compromised.

"We say there's two kinds of companies: those that have been hacked, and those that don't know they've been hacked," said McConnell.

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