David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt of the New York Times report on a troubling cybersecurity trend:

The top American military official responsible for defending the United States against cyberattacks said Thursday that there had been a 17-fold increase in computer attacks on American infrastructure between 2009 and 2011, initiated by criminal gangs, hackers and other nations.

The assessment by Gen. Keith B. Alexander, who heads the National Security Agency and also the newly created United States Cyber Command, appears to be the government’s first official acknowledgment of the pace at which America’s electricity grids, water supplies, computer and cellphone networks and other infrastructure are coming under attack. Those attacks are considered potentially far more serious than computer espionage or financial crimes.

On a related note, via John Eggerton over at Broadcasting & Cable, the Senate yesterday voted to push forward on the Cybersecurity Act of 2012.