Why Former NSA Chief Warns US Not Ready for Next Sony Attack

PHOTO: General (Ret.) Keith Alexander speaks onstage on "Cyber-Security/Cyber-Insecurity" at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Oct. 8, 2014 in San Francisco.PlayMichael Kovac/Getty Images
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The United States is unprepared to defend government and commercial targets from a Sony Pictures-style cyberattack, according to a retired general who served as the nation’s top cybersecurity official.

An attack similar to the cyberhack of Sony Pictures Entertainment last month is “a problem we’re not ready for,” Gen. Keith Alexander, former head of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, said today in an interview with ABC’s Martha Raddatz on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

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“The Sony attack clearly highlights that we’re not ready [to defend against a cyberattack],” said Alexander, who jointly led U.S. Cyber Command and the NSA for three years before retiring in 2013.

“The way we’re protecting our networks, it’s not working.”

The United States has blamed North Korea for the attack against the movie studio, which released company emails, employee information, several movies and millions of emails. North Korea has denied involvement in the attack.

In recent weeks, the U.S. government has also been targeted by hackers. Supporters of the terrorist group ISIS last week hacked social media accounts belonging to the U.S. military’s Central Command, replacing the command’s Twitter logo with the message “i love you isis.”

In a statement, Central Command called the attack “cybervandalism” but said it did not penetrate the command’s operational networks.