US isn't sharing what it knows on cyber risks - official

Washington - The US government has failed to share enough information about cyber threats, including risks to election systems, with federal agencies and states, according to a top Trump administration intelligence official. 

Intelligence agencies are “kicking butt offensively”, but the US needs to be better prepared to defend against future attacks as adversaries constantly learn about “our gaps and weaknesses’’, William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Centre said on Thursday at a conference in Washington.

“We have not done the best job of informing the rest of the government and private sector of what the threat is,’’ Evanina said. But now “we’re doing much better" in trying to share information, he added.

Evanina’s centre is under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which held classified briefings with state election officials in Washington last month.

President Donald Trump said this week that “we’ve actually been working very hard on the ’18 election” and that the US would “very strongly” counteract any Russian efforts to interfere.

But he has often dismissed the continuing investigations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election as a “witch hunt” aimed at discrediting his victory. Navy Admiral Michael Rogers, the outgoing chief of the National Security Agency and US Cyber Command, told lawmakers last week that Russia hadn’t “paid a price” for its actions.

Evanina also said 90% of data breaches that result in information being stolen come from “spear-phishing” attacks that fool people into opening their devices to intrusions.

“As Americans, we have an unbelievable ability not to click a link,’’ he said.

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