CIA director: US faces 'unprecedented' cyber threats

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The U.S. now faces an "unprecedented range of threats" in the digital domain, the nation's CIA director said.

Central Intelligence Director John Brennan outlined some of the threats during a recent talk at the Cyber Georgia conference at Augusta University, The Augusta Chronicle reported.

Georgia is home to a key facility in the U.S. military's cyber security efforts. In 2013, military officials announced that the U.S. Army Cyber Command Headquarters will be at Fort Gordon in Augusta.

The Cyber Georgia conference, which brings together government, academic and industry experts to exchange ideas, is in its third year at Augusta University.

"I think this community represents the marriage of the private and public sector," Brennan told reporters at the conference after his Thursday keynote address.

"We have Fort Gordon. and Augusta University, which is really determined to bring together the representatives from the different sectors of society and recognize that cyber security affects us all," he said. "It's something that we really need to all work on."

In fiscal year 2014, federal agencies were the target of more than 640,000 cyber-related incidents, Brennan said.

Forums such as the one in Augusta are examples of ways professionals can work together for solutions and recognize the problems the country faces, he added.

"We have been told to expect what's been called a cyber tsunami," Augusta University President Brooks Keel said, adding that "Augusta has got to be ready."

Former U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who also spoke at the event, said he used to speak about cyber security and get little response, but now it's a topic no one can ignore.

"The No. 1 issue in every boardroom of American companies today is cyber security," Chambliss said. "It's that important and it's reached that high a profile."

National security officials began Georgia's largest cyber summit Wednesday by finalizing a deal allowing soldiers at the National Security Agency's Fort Gordon complex to obtain degrees at Augusta University, the Augusta newspaper reported.

The agreement signed by the university and NSA's National Cryptologic School, scheduled to start this spring, will enable a pilot class of 25 military personnel at Augusta's NSA intelligence-gathering facility the chance to earn bachelor's degrees in one of four career tracks, such as political science and international relations.