PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
01:51
Intel director: Warning lights are blinking red
5 ways us can stop hackers orig nws_00010722.jpg
5 ways us can stop hackers orig nws_00010722.jpg
Now playing
01:37
5 ways the US can stop hackers
Now playing
04:21
GPS spoofing: Russia's new cyberweapon?
russia DNC hacking RON 2_00000808.jpg
russia DNC hacking RON 2_00000808.jpg
Now playing
02:30
US blames Russia for power grid cyberattacks
Photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un taken from the front page of the state paper Rodong Sinmun on Friday September 22.
Photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un taken from the front page of the state paper Rodong Sinmun on Friday September 22.
PHOTO: Rodong Sinmun/KCNA
Now playing
02:28
US blames North Korea for cyberattack
The Kremlin wall and towers dominate the skyline at the Red Square in Moscow, on March 2, 2012. Russia on March 4 votes in presidential elections expected to send Vladimir Putin back to the Kremlin after his four year stint as prime minister.  AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY        (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
The Kremlin wall and towers dominate the skyline at the Red Square in Moscow, on March 2, 2012. Russia on March 4 votes in presidential elections expected to send Vladimir Putin back to the Kremlin after his four year stint as prime minister. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
03:34
NYT: US spies paid Russian who promised cyberweapons, Trump intel
BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 28: A participant sits with a laptop computer as he attends the annual Chaos Communication Congress of the Chaos Computer Club at the Berlin Congress Center on December 28, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. The Chaos Computer Club is Europe
BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 28: A participant sits with a laptop computer as he attends the annual Chaos Communication Congress of the Chaos Computer Club at the Berlin Congress Center on December 28, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. The Chaos Computer Club is Europe's biggest network of computer hackers and its annual congress draws up to 3,000 participants. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Now playing
01:47
NYT: NSA hack bigger than Snowden
A roll of "I Voted" stickers, which are handed out to residents after they vote, sit on an election officials table at a polling place on November 4, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.  In last Aprils election only 1,484 of Ferguson
A roll of "I Voted" stickers, which are handed out to residents after they vote, sit on an election officials table at a polling place on November 4, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. In last Aprils election only 1,484 of Ferguson's 12,096 registered voters cast ballots. Community leaders are hoping for a much higher turnout for this election. Following riots sparked by the August 9 shooting death of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, a Ferguson police officer, residents of this majority black community on the outskirts of St. Louis have been forced to re-examine race relations in the region and take a more active role in the region's politics. Two-thirds of Fergusons population is African American yet five of its six city council members are white, as is its mayor, six of seven school board members and 50 of its 53 police officers. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Now playing
03:15
Homeland Security Chief: Hackers targeting voting systems
PHOTO: CNN/File
Now playing
02:17
Source ties Russia to Wikileaks emails
PHOTO: Reuters
Now playing
02:21
Putin ally warns of 'war' if US elects Hillary Clinton
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
02:30
Hackers playing US for entertainment?
Russian President Vladimir Putin visits a polling station during parliamentary elections in Moscow on September 18, 2016. / AFP / POOL / GRIGORY DUKOR        (Photo credit should read GRIGORY DUKOR/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin visits a polling station during parliamentary elections in Moscow on September 18, 2016. / AFP / POOL / GRIGORY DUKOR (Photo credit should read GRIGORY DUKOR/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: AFP/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
02:15
Is hacking group tied to Russian intelligence?
A man walks to use a voting booth March 1, 2016, at one of the Virginia primary election polling stations at Colin Powell Elementary School, in Centreville, Virginia.
Voters in a dozen states will take part in "Super Tuesday" -- a series of primaries and caucuses in states ranging from Alaska to Virginia, with Virginia the first to open its polling stations at 6:00 am (1100 GMT).  / AFP / PAUL J. RICHARDS        (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
A man walks to use a voting booth March 1, 2016, at one of the Virginia primary election polling stations at Colin Powell Elementary School, in Centreville, Virginia. Voters in a dozen states will take part in "Super Tuesday" -- a series of primaries and caucuses in states ranging from Alaska to Virginia, with Virginia the first to open its polling stations at 6:00 am (1100 GMT). / AFP / PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
01:52
US officially blames Russia for political hacks
FBI Director James Comey (R) speaks as Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin (L) listens during a news conference for announcing a law enforcement action March 24, 2016 in Washington, DC.
FBI Director James Comey (R) speaks as Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin (L) listens during a news conference for announcing a law enforcement action March 24, 2016 in Washington, DC.
PHOTO: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Now playing
04:31
Assistant attorney general to hackers: We'll find you
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump shake hands following the first presidential debate moderated by NBC host Lester Holt(bottom L) at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on September 26, 2016.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump shake hands following the first presidential debate moderated by NBC host Lester Holt(bottom L) at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on September 26, 2016.
PHOTO: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
01:27
Fact check: Was Russia behind the DNC cyberattacks?
WESTBURY, NY - SEPTEMBER 26:  Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during a debate-watch party at The Space at Westbury on September 26, 2016 in Westbury, New York. Tonight was the first of four debates for the 2016 election - three presidential and one vice presidential.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WESTBURY, NY - SEPTEMBER 26: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during a debate-watch party at The Space at Westbury on September 26, 2016 in Westbury, New York. Tonight was the first of four debates for the 2016 election - three presidential and one vice presidential. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Now playing
01:50
Clinton's Wall Street speeches leaked?
(CNN) —  

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats raised the alarm on growing cyberattack threats against the United States, saying the situation is at a “critical point” and coming out forcefully against Russia.

“The warning signs are there. The system is blinking. It is why I believe we are at a critical point,” Coats said, addressing the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC, on Friday.

“Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack,” he said.

Coats compared the “warning signs” to those the United States faced ahead of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“It was in the months prior to September 2001 when, according to then-CIA Director George Tenet, the system is blinking red. And here we are nearly two decades later, and I’m here to say, the warning lights are blinking red again,” Coats said.

Coats said the “worst offenders” are Russia, China, Iran and North Korea – with Russia the “most aggressive foreign actor, no question. And they continue their efforts to undermine our democracy.”

Every day, those countries “are penetrating our digital infrastructure and conducting a range of cyber intrusions and attacks against targets in the United States,” he said.

Some of their targets include the federal government, the US military, state and local governments, and US businesses, he said.

Coats’ comments came the same day that the Justice Department announced the indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence agents, accusing them of engaging in a “sustained effort” to hack Democrats’ emails and computer networks during the 2016 election.

Coats referred to the indictments and alluded to upcoming election threats, but said “focusing on the potential impact of these actions, on our midterm election, misses the more important point: These actions are persistent, they’re pervasive, and they are meant to undermine America’s democracy on a daily basis, regardless of whether it is election time or not. Russia actors and others are exploring vulnerabilities in our critical infrastructure as well.”

Coats added, “What’s serious about the Russians is their intent. They have capabilities, but it’s their intent to undermine our basic values, undermine democracy, create wedges between us and our allies.”

John Podesta, the former chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, reacted to the warning on Saturday, telling CNN’s Ana Cabrera, “as the director of national intelligence said, the red lights are blinking, but I think the White House is essentially asleep at the switch.”

In his remarks, Coats pointed to the indictment as showing “exactly what they’re trying to do or what they’ve done through their military intelligence relative to elections.”

So far, he said, the United States is “not yet seeing the kind of electoral interference in specific states and in voter databases that we experienced in 2016” by the Kremlin.

“However, we fully realize that we are just one click of the keyboard away from a similar situation repeating itself,” he warned.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, like other officials in her department, made a similar assessment that Russia has not yet targeted the 2018 midterm elections with a “scale or scope” of their influence campaign in the 2016 presidential election. But Nielsen noted on Saturday during a conference in Philadelphia that the intelligence community has observed “persistent Russian efforts using social media.”

Coats said Friday that intelligence officials have seen “aggressive attempts to manipulate social media and to spread propaganda focused on hot-button issues that are intended to exacerbate social, political divisions.”

Trump is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin one-on-one in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday. Trump said he intends to raise the 2016 election meddling during his discussion with Putin.

While Coats will not be sitting down with Putin, he was asked Friday what his message to Putin would be if he was given the chance to speak with the Russian leader.

“My message would be: We know what you’re doing, and we know you know what you’re doing and what we’re doing. If your goal is to strengthen Russia in the proper way, we can cooperate with you,” he said, later adding, “But if you want to stay in this tit-for-tat, we’re going to beat you.”

CNN’s Clare Foran Steve Brusk, Adil Trehan and Zachary Cohen contributed to this report.