Islamic terrorists, criminals and some countries are getting ready for major cyber-attacks against the United States, according to senior Justice Department officials.
Speaking at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado, officials warned that terrorists have openly said they're planning to use electronic attacks to do as much damage as possible to U.S. infrastructure, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
"We're in a pre-9/11 moment, in some respects, with cyber," said John Carlin, the Justice Department's assistant attorney general for national security. "It's clear that the terrorists want to use cyber-enabled means to cause the maximum amount of destruction to our infrastructure. It's clear because they have said it."
In a recent videotaped statement, al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahri said they're preparing cyber-attacks against U.S. infrastructure, including power grids or financial networks.
Carlin said the Justice Department has been addressing the threat since the early 2000s using similar strategies as it's used against terrorism.
"From our perspective we have to apply the same type of approach that we did to terrorism to the national security cyber threat," he said.