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Cyber crime: The new big threat to national security

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Cyber crime: the new big threat to national security
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More and more companies are finding out that they have been victims of cyber crimes and hacking. The government announced this week they plan to work on the problem. YNN's Andrew Sorensen looks into the cyber security industry to see just what they're dealing with, and what can be done about some of the bigger issues they face.

ROME, N.Y. -- When the Air Force Research Lab in Rome comes up with a cyber security innovation, it's the Griffiss Institute that helps them commercialize it.

When former AFRL Cyber Security Chief and current Griffiss Director Bill Wolf talks about what's going on in the world of hacking, there's only so much he can say.

"There are things industry, private industry are not even aware of. They don't know what they don't know," Wolf said.

With several recent high profile hacks of big companies, the Attorney General is going after a new initiative to protect intellectual property.

"There's been a lot of money put into cyber, and there continues to be a lot of money put into cyber, but not nearly enough," Wolf said.

But Wolf said that's not what keeps him up at night. SCADA is his nightmare.

"SCADA, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems, that's where cyber meets the kinetic world," he explained.

So, if someone really knew what they were doing, they could go into a sewage system for a city, and start to shut off pumps, which could flood a few basements, but things could get a whole lot worse on other systems.

"The financial sector, not individual phishing schemes trying to steal identity, but bringing down the entire financial market," said Wolf.

It's not just a problem the government is dealing with.

"We've essentially at this point pulled the Internet to any place that anybody might conceivably want to be," said Dr. Stewart Card, AX Enterprise Lead System Engineer.

At AX Enterprise, they develop communications systems, their problem?

"Somebody else has gotten there too," Card said.

This is where Attorney General Eric Holder's initiative might help.

"Now we're worrying about professionals who are after data that could do our nation real damage if it were compromised," Card said.

Card explained that private industry is so wired that when it's cracked, and we lose trade secrets. "It guts our industrial capacity upon which, of course, our defense depends."

And experts say these attempted attacks are happening on a startling basis.

"It's not a question of if something is going to happen on a large scale. It's a question of when that's going to happen," said Wolf.

There's progress in both government and private sector every day.

"On any given day, some of the defenders are ahead of some of the attackers, and some of the attackers are ahead of some of the defenders," Card explained.

But they say the best solution for now would be more funding for research.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill last year to establish a National Cyber Research Laboratory in Rome.

Its goal would be to help the Air Force in cyber research, but the project is still in the planning stages. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP