Recent hacking startles government officials…and many others
The recent hacking (this month) into a network affiliated with the National Security Agency (NSA) has had a sobering effect on many who believed the agency was the pinnacle of online security. The agency’s cyber spy division was hacked by another sophisticated group of hackers called The Shadow Brokers. Frightening? You bet! Dangerous? Absolutely! Even more frightening when one realizes that the NSA’s network was thought to surpass anything known in terms of complexity and sophistication of techniques.
There’s more cyber assault news that is just as alarming. On Tuesday, the government announced that hackers believed to be based in Russia have attempted to breach state voter registration databases in a few states. U.S. intelligence officials told the media that there is significant concern that Russia may attempt to interfere with the U.S. presidential election. The FBI has sent an alert to election officials nationwide instructing them to watch carefully for cyber intrusions.
Unfortunately, hacking is not new…but, these most recent cyberattacks are significantly more alarming because of the reality that the country’s most secure networks are obviously vulnerable.
The last year has provided several instances of international cybercrime, both in the public and private sectors. A recent survey that included hundreds of chief information officers, chief information security officers and chief technology officers serving some of the largest private companies in the U.S. revealed that 81 percent of the officers surveyed have experienced some form of hacking. In spite of that, only 49 percent of the firms invested in more security last year. State and local governmental entities are also not aggressively spending on cybersecurity. One has to wonder why this is. Most likely, it’s the cost and a lack of funding.
Between 2016 and 2021 – only five years – the cybersecurity market is projected to grow from $122.45 billion to $202.31 billion at a compound annual growth rate of 10.6 percent. That’s a staggering number, but apparently a very real projection. North America is expected to dominate the cybersecurity market.
California and Michigan have passed legislation hoping to stay ahead of cyberattacks. Few other states, however, are aggressively focusing on cybersecurity. With the growing digitization of businesses, there will obviously be even more cyberattacks.
California’s statutes will be implemented by July 1, 2017. The legislation outlines a plan in case of a statewide cyberattack. The state has also criminalized the use of ransomware. Michigan has a Cybersecurity Strategic Plan and other states will surely develop plans in the near future. But, without doubt, we’re behind the curve. Stakeholders (taxpayers, citizens, businesses) should ask public officials to move quickly. Cybercrime is costly and dangerous…and it is not declining.
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