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Homeland Security director warns of catastrophic cyberattack in farewell speech

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Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano warned today that the United States will "at some point" be hit by a major cyberattack that could not just harm the economy, but also disrupt everyday life in America. Napolitano's warning came as part of her farewell speech — she's set to step down on September 6th after four and a half years in the position. She remarked that cyberattacks were "new challenges" that had been addressed under her tenure but that still required "further attention" from her successor.

"More must be done."

"While we have built systems, protections, and a framework to identify attacks and intrusions … to mitigate the damage, more must be done and must be done quickly," says Napolitano.

The secretary's language mirrors a common rhetoric out of Washington, with cyberattacks now listed as the number one threat to the United States. Digital defenses have been a common point of discussion in light of the cyberattacks on newspapers and banks this January, but many have been as quick to strike concern over cyber defenses as they've been to extol the power of the United States' cyber arsenal. Napolitano didn't suggested what her successor could do to address the issue, but she made it clear that she believed it would need to be handled.