“To date, terrorists have not used the Internet to launch a full-scale cyber attack, but we cannot underestimate their intent,” Mueller told a House appropriations subcommittee.
“They may seek to train their own recruits or hire outsiders, with an eye toward pursuing cyber attacks.
“As our nation’s national security and criminal adversaries constantly adapt and evolve, so must the FBI be able to respond with new or revised strategies and operations to counter these threats,” Mueller said, presenting theFBI’s 2013 budget.
Mueller pointed to Al-Qaeda’s use of online chat rooms and websites to “recruit and radicalize followers to commit acts of terrorism.” He also said that militants have shown interest in computer hacking, making “the FBI’s counterterrorism mission that much more difficult and challenging.”
Mueller said that the terror group’s Yemen-based branch publishes an English-language online magazine, “Inspire,” while Shebab militants linked to Al-Qaeda in Somalia use Twitter to “taunt its enemies, in English, and encourage terrorist activity.”
The FBI claims that there has been an 84 percent increase in the number of computer intrusion investigations opened.
The bureau has cyber squads in each of its 56 field offices, as well as over 1,000 specially trained staff running undercover operations and examining digital evidence.
Last Tuesday, US officials charged five alleged computer hackers in Britain, Ireland and the United States in high-profile cyberattacks after a leader of the group became an FBI informant.