Cybersecurity expert speaks on future of United States

UTICA, N.Y. -- Admiral Mike McConnell served as director of National Intelligence under both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. Now retired, McConnell is still speaking out about cyber security.

"If we don't do something major, we're going to have serious consequences," he said.

With our lives becoming more and more digitalized, McConnell said threats to our cyber security are at an all time high.

"Everything you depend on, from that camera you're using to your credit card, to your bank account - it's all digital," he said. "You took a shower, this morning, you had hot water, you had lights - it's all digital. It's all controlled through that means. If it's digital, it's vulnerable."

McConnell spoke about this at Utica College's organization of justice studies as a way to be an advocate for change that he said is needed.

"Right now penetrations happen routinely, it takes about 200 days to discover you had malware inserted into your inside system, and once you discover it, it takes about 90 days to be removed. It should be discovered in seconds, it should be removed in minutes," McConnell said.

At this point, McConnell said the U.S. could see what he calls a cyber Pearl Harbor, but he hopes a crisis doesn't need to happen before change is made through legislation and regulations.

"With leadership, if the president understands it, believes it and pushes for it, we can have change," McConnell said.

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