Aug 31st 2016 | Posted in Mary Scott Nabers' Insights, News by Mary Scott Nabers

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.

hacking startles governmentThe “Shadow Brokers” stepped into the spotlight in a terrifying way. The group has announced that the stolen code will be available to the highest bidder. The auction is being touted on social media.

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.

Want to read more stories like this one? Check out the most recent editions of our two newsletters, Government Contracting Pipeline and Texas Government Insider. SPI’s government contracting consultants assist firms of all types in selling to governmentContact them today.


Mary Scott Nabers

As President and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., Mary Scott Nabers has decades of experience working in the public-private sector. A well-recognized expert in the P3 and government contracting fields, she is often asked to share her industry insights with top publications and through professional speaking engagements.