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  • Rick Bonetti

Cybersecurity Vulnerability

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

image from DHS

Visible, physical warfare, such as the horrendous bombings in war in Ukraine, should also draw attention to the cybersecurity threat and crisis in the United States

The Boston Globe reports “The 2018 assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence ranked cyberattacks against utilities, communications systems and markets as the top threat to the United States.”

A “significant cyber incident” is one that is “likely to result in demonstrable harm to the national security interests, foreign relations, or economy of the United States or to the public confidence, civil liberties, or public health and safety of the American people.”

The May 2018 DHS Cybersecurity Strategy states that “More than 20 billion devices are expected to be connected to the Internet by 2020. The risks introduced by the growing number and variety of such devices are substantial.”

Threats to national and economic security include: resilient national positioning; navigation; timing services; critical infrastructure assets; organizations; systems and functions; and high frequency trading/payments. These threats are classified “high” and “readiness is low” under the various scenarios being evaluated. The risks to public safety issues are classified “medium” and “readiness is higher.”

On a local level, computers control traffic lights, sewage plants and electrical grids. The Conversation cites “poor, if not appalling, state of local government cybersecurity in the United States.”

Other cyber-crimes include computer intrusions and attacks, fraud, intellectual property theft, identity theft, theft of trade secrets, criminal hacking, terrorist activity, espionage and sabotage.

The signing of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act of 2018 led DHS to creation of a new agency called the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA.)

Cybersecurity Preparedness

Part of the challenge of cybersecurity preparedness is the lack of trained specialists.

The average IT-related job typically earns salaries at least 50 percent higher than the average private sector job. Even so, the Department of Homeland Security reports that “there are currently over half a million job openings in America in information technology (IT) fields like cybersecurity in the United States.”

Hacker conventions are trying to recruit high school students to become interested in cyber security. ShmooCon is an annual East Coast hacker convention focused on technology exploitation, inventive software and hardware solutions, and open discussions of critical “infosec issues”; this year it is being held in Washington DC on March 24-26, 2022.

“The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) has been established to… advance cybersecurity education, training, and workforce development.”

“Networked technologies touch every corner of the globe and every facet of human life. They have driven innovation, nurtured freedoms, and spurred economic prosperity. Even so, the very technologies that enable these benefits offer new opportunities for malicious and unwanted cyber activities.” ~ National Cyber Incident Response Plan

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