In this increasingly connected world, little if anything is beyond the reach of a determined cybercriminal, Adm. Michael Rogers, commander of U.S. Cyber Command, said Wednesday at an internet security conference.
"We're entering a world where literally nothing seems to be beyond the reach or intent of someone out there to try and access it, and often for a variety of purposes," he said.
His comments came during a panel discussion at the Cambridge Cyber Summit, co-sponsored by CNBC, MIT and The Aspen Institute.
The problem is compounded by growing mistrust of the U.S. government from citizens, which makes it harder than ever for agencies and law enforcement to keep its citizens safe, he said.
"We have to acknowledge that right now as a society we have broad distrust of the mechanisms and structures of government," he said.
Congress and other institutions of government are no longer held in the regard they once were, he said. The big challenge is creating the mechanisms of government that will enable government agencies to do their job in a way that is acceptable to Americans, he added.