San Francisco: Terrorists, crooks and nation states are ramping up cyberassaults that are eating away at data, cash and security in the United States, the head of the FBI said.
"The risks are right at our doorsteps and in some cases they are in the house," Federal Bureau of Investigation chief Robert Mueller said in a speech at an RSA Conference of computer security professionals on Thursday.
"Working together we can find the people taking shots at us and stop those attacks."
Mueller was the third high-ranking federal official in as many days to urge private industry cyber warriors to join forces with the US government to battle spies, terrorists and crooks plaguing the Internet.
"As you well know, a cyberattack could have the same impact as a well-placed bomb," Mueller said.
"In the past ten years, Al-Qaeda`s online presence has become as potent as its in-world presence."
Al-Qaeda uses for the Internet range from recruiting and inciting to posting ways to make bio-weapons and forming social-networks for aspiring terrorists, according to Mueller.
"The cyber terrorism threat is real and rapidly expanding," Mueller said.
"Terrorists have shown a clear interest in hacking skills and combining real attacks with cyber attacks."
Threats are also rising from online espionage, with hackers out for source code, money, trade and government secrets, according to the FBI.