The government is only interested in identifying a digital signature laced with bad source code and the network address from which it originated — not “what was in the email,” he said.
Alexander voiced for support for establishing a set of baseline security standards for critical infrastructure operators, an issue that’s currently dividing the Senate. GOP senators have taken issue with a measure in Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-Conn.) cybersecurity bill that would require companies operating critical infrastructure to meet a set of security standards.
While Alexander said it’s necessary to develop “rules of the road” for operating in cyberspace, he stopped short of describing what those standards would look like in legislation.
“That’s the part that I think we’re going to have to work our way through,” he said.
Alexander noted that cyber threats facing the United States are growing increasingly sophisticated, shifting from being simply “disruptive” to “destructive.” He voiced concern that al Qaeda could quickly develop capabilities to carry out a destructive cyberattack, but noted they haven’t acquired that skill yet.
“I don’t personally believe they’re a viable threat in that realm right now,” Alexander said. “I am concerned that while I don’t see it today, that they could quickly get to that.”
He also blasted claims that a new NSA center constructed in Utah was dedicated to intercepting and storing people’s emails, calls and other communications.
“That’s baloney,” Alexander said. “I think we need the American people to know that’s not true.”