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Napolitano: U.S. Risks ‘Major’ Cyber-Attack in the Future

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called on the next agency to do more to protect the U.S. from the cyber-attacks that have plagued public and private institutions throughout her tenure. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called on the next agency to do more to protect the U.S. from the cyber-attacks that have plagued public and private institutions throughout her tenure. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Aug. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. will face a cyber-attack in the future that will cause major disruption in the economy, the outgoing Homeland Security Department chief said.

“Our country will, at some point, face a major cyber-event that will have a serious effect on our lives, our economy, and the everyday functioning of our society,” Janet Napolitano, President Barack Obama’s top homeland security official since 2009, said in remarks prepared for her farewell speech today.

Napolitano, 55, announced last month that she would leave her post as secretary of the department to become the next president of the University of California system. She departs after more than four years in a role that put her in the middle of the debates about national security and immigration policy.

Napolitano, in her prepared remarks, ticked through the accomplishments and lessons learned during her time atop the department, which includes oversight of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, Secret Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Transportation Security Administration.

In the closing of her remarks, Napolitano laid out recommendations for her successor, who has not been named by the Obama administration. She listed the need to confront the “evolving threat of terrorism, natural disasters and the need for strong border security and immigration enforcement.”

She also called on the next agency to do more to protect the U.S. from the cyber-attacks that have plagued public and private institutions throughout her tenure.

“While we have built systems, protections and a framework to identify attacks and intrusions, share information with the private sector and across government, and develop plans and capabilities to mitigate the damage, more must be done, and quickly,” Napolitano said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Mattingly in Washington at pmattingly@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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