"This new growing trend of nation states engaged in cyber attacks that are designed to be destructive to parts of the US economy is very, very concerning," said Mike Rogers, chairman of the US House Intelligence Committee.
"The ferociousness of these attacks is increasing and it's something that we better get a handle on," Rogers added.
Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of Crowdstrike, a security technology specialist firm that works with governments and private companies, said he is most concerned about Iran, particularly if there is a spike in tensions in the Middle East.
He is watching the attacks that have taken down the websites of more than a dozen US banks in the past nine months. There are no signs that hackers have managed to destroy or modify crucial financial data, but that is the fear.
"Attacks that focus on modifying data in the stealth way, sabotage, integrity attacks - those are the ones that are most insidious and those are the ones we really should worry about," Alperovitch said.
The migration of ever more elements of the economy to the digital world opens the door to malfeasance.
"We keep hooking more and more stuff up to the internet, so the attack surface keeps growing," said Michael Daniel, cybersecurity policy coordinator at the White House. "Pretty soon your coffee maker and your refrigerator is going to be an attack vector because it's going to be hooked up to the internet."
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