Top 4 threats against America: the good and bad news

America’s top spy chiefs and intelligence experts come together every year to share their best guesses about the biggest threats that will face the country in the year ahead. Here are the top four pieces of good and bad news to come out of the annual threat-assessment hearing in Congress Tuesday.

3. Cyberattacks: good news

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There isn’t much good news on this front, and it prompted perhaps the greatest occasion for angry fist-pounding among lawmakers during the hearing.

Intelligence officials do note that they are increasingly aware of the myriad cyberthreats facing the US. That is a plus, they note, as they must recognize the threat in order to begin confronting it. Indeed, “Our technical advancements in detection and attribution shed light on malicious activity.”

That said, however, “cyber intruders continue to explore new means to circumvent defensive measures.”

As if grasping for some good news out of the infinite difficulty of confronting cyberthreats today, the assessment seized upon the Arab Spring.

“We currently face a cyber environment where emerging technologies are developed and implemented faster than governments can keep pace.” In an effort to put a positive spin on this fact, the assessment pointed to “the failed efforts at censoring social media during the 2011 Arab Spring revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya.” 

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