A senior Homeland Security official says crucial U.S. industries face an increasing number of cyber break-ins by attackers using more sophisticated methods and targeting techniques.

His comments came Thursday in Idaho Falls, Idaho, as the government gave reporters a first-ever look at secretive U.S. labs for studying threats to industrial control systems.

The effort at Idaho National Laboratory facilities is intended to protect the nation's power grid, chemical plants, water and communications systems.

The Homeland Security official, Greg Schaffer, said the world's utilities and industries are increasingly vulnerable as they wire their machinery to the internet.

According to the department, its Industrial Control Systems Computer Emergency Response Team deployed once in 2009, six times last year and seven times so far in 2011.