AMERICAN OFFICIALS fear that the Saudi Arabia attack was training drill for future attacks on  infrastructure or on energy company in the United States.

The attack was ultimately thwarted by an error in the attackers' computer code.

Similar attacks have happened before.

In 2013, Iranian hackers infiltrated computers that controlled the Bowman Avenue Dam in Rye Brook, N.Y. They managed to gain access to computers that control the dam's water levels and flow gates, according to the 2016 indictment.

But any attempt to manipulate the dam's lock and gates would have failed because the dam was under repair and offline.

The dam hack was one of about a dozen security incidents as American critical infrastructure providers, including some power grid operators, that officials in the United States attributed to Iranian hackers.

The 2016 indictments named individual Iranian hackers, but there have not been any arrests.

Officials believe that there is a little deterrent to stop them from trying again, especially with the United States leaving the Iran nuclear deal.

''Given the history of Iranian cyberactivity in response to geopolitical issues, the American energy sector has every reason to expect some type of response from Iran,'' Mr. olsen said.

GENERAL ALEXANDER, who now serves as chief executive of IronNet, also warned that although the United States has-

Some of the most sophisticated offensive cyberwarfare capabilities in the world, the country is at a  tremendous disadvantage when it comes to playing defense.

''We're probably one of the most automated technology countries world,'' he said.

''We are an innovation nation and our technology is at the forefront of that innovation. We could have a very good offense, but so do they. And unfortunately we have more to lose.''


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