Homeland Security: Cyber threats ‘acute,’ likely will grow

A Department of Homeland Security threat assessment released Tuesday indicates that cyber threats in the United States “remain acute” and will likely grow, and that the COVID-19 pandemic is creating new opportunities to exploit Americans.

The report was released by Chad Wolf, acting DHS secretary, who said the assessment is the first of its kind and is as close as Americans will get to see and understand the information that he sees. He said that Americans “should have faith in knowing that these threats were identified using the best intelligence, operational information and employee knowledge available to the Department.”

Also included in the threat assessment:

  • China, Russia and Iran may seek to use cyber capabilities to compromise or disrupt critical infrastructure used to support the 2020 elections and may also use influence measures in an attempt to sway the preferences and perceptions of U.S. voters;
  • ideologically motivated lone offenders and small groups pose the greatest terrorist threat, with domestic violent extremists presenting the most persistent and lethal threat;
  • transnational criminal organizations will continue to be an acute and devastating threat undermining public health and safety and a significant threat to national security with Mexico-based cartels posing the greatest threat;
  • the duration and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and within Central and South America and the Caribbean will shape migration to Southwest border, exacerbating the underlying economic and political conditions in the region; and
  • natural disasters continue to pose a threat to the life and safety of Americans, while also impacting local and national economies.

The full threat assessment can be accessed on the DHS website.

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