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The U.S. Senate, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations conducted hearings during the Summer of 1996 to examine growing threats to U.S. defense and commercial systems. The resultant minority staff report discussed actions to improve the Nation's preparedness against international threats.
During the hearings, significant evidence was presented characterizing defense systems as increasingly vulnerable to network intrusions and probing. The General Accounting Office (GAO) presented its study of intrusions into DoD systems and explained the high costs associated with intrusions in terms of staff demands and the effects of computer downtime.
The hearings also focused on the importance of the Nation's infrastructures — information and communications, electric power, finance and banking, and transportation; and how risks to them could significantly affect our economic strength and national competitiveness.