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Chertoff Warns of Cyber Threats to Economy
CNBC.com | December 15, 2011 | 06:45 PM EST

Never mind trouble with the euro or a slowdown in global growth. Cyber attacks might be one of the largest threats to the U.S. economy, former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff said Thursday on “Fast Money.”

“Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are now dumbfounded at the amount of intellectual property that is being stolen from our country,” he said. “That strikes directly at the ability to create jobs and be competitive internationally.”

Chertoff said he expects legislation next year to combat the growing threat.

One of the challenges is that hackers are operating outside the United States, with most of the more serious attacks coming from Russia and China, he said.

Chertoff described “outsider trading,” in which hackers break into corporate computer systems for information on which to trade.

Ways to guard against such attacks include: Network sensors, traffic-flow monitoring, deep-packet inspection, big-data analytics and cyber forensics, Chertoff said.

Trader Joe Terranova offered a couple of ways to play the sector: ITT and CACI International, which counts on the Pentagon for 80 percent of its revenue.

Pete Najarian said he liked Symantec, as well as the sector in general.

“There’s going to be plenty of dollars spent in this area for sure,” he said.

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