Attacks on government systems by international hackers could undermine the economic competitiveness of the US, a congressional committee has been told.
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The disclosure follows warnings from the UK National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre that overseas intelligence agencies were systematically targeting government and private sector computer systems in the UK.
James Langevin, chairman of the Emerging Threats and Cyber Security Subcommittee of the Homeland Security Committee, said that the infiltration by foreign nationals of government networks was the most critical issue facing the US.
His comments, made at the start of the first major public investigation into government-sponsored hacking, will add new urgency to private sector and government agencies to step up their security, said security specialists.