The headline reads, “U.S. officials have warned for years that the prospect of a cyber attack is the top threat to the nation and have sharply increased spending for computer security”.
A report released by the Republican staff for the Senate Homeland Security Committee states that federal agencies are ill prepared to defend cyber networks against even the modestly trained hackers. In other words, anyone with a computer and a complaint against the United States could in fact shut us down at anytime.
The report goes on to say that, workers responsible for the systems have failed to install security patches, update anti-virus software and failed to communicating on secure networks. No one is, or was checking the security of passwords used. One common password found to be used often was the word “Password”. Sleep well tonight everyone.
Despite the clamor, warnings and obvious problems with the nation’s cyber security profile, it appears that nothing is being done about the crisis. The security of the country’s infrastructure and lives of American citizens is on the line (Rein, 2014).
“U.S. intelligence agencies last week urged the administration to check the new health care network for malicious software. All this after learning that developers linked to the Belarus government (a former Soviet Republic that still has close ties to Russia) helped produce the website. This of course also raises fresh concerns about the security of private data posted by millions of Americans”.
The report goes on to say that officials suspect that programmers in Belarus have inserted malicious code that can be used for cyber attacks against the United States (Gertz, 2014).
It seems that every American today is either a target of a terrorist organization or a target because of governmental incompetency or a target by design. It does make one wonder.
How Are You Affected
Stop and think about how much of what you do on a daily basis is controlled by computers, computers that could at anytime fall into the hands of a terrorist organization bent on our destruction.
Trains, planes and many new automobiles are directly controlled or can be directly controlled by a computer. Internet, cells phones and many other types of communication are controlled by computers somewhere. Water treatment plants, food processing facilities, hospitals and police departments all run by computer. Not to mention the military is highly dependent upon computer systems these days.
How many sick or dying people will need to show up at the hospital before someone realizes the computers have been hacked at the local water treatment plant and someone has been poisoned? The point is once you realize it has happened it may be too late.
A nuclear weapon is launched by a rogue nation, our missile defense shield is activated, and we fire a missile to intercept the warhead only to find out that the intercept missile is way off course and has landed in a suburban neighborhood. The ICBM carrying a nuclear warhead cannot be stopped. It is now too late to realize that the computers have been hacked.
You Never Saw the Need to Begin Prepping Before So How About Now
It seems that no matter how we vote or how much we protests to our Senators and Representatives nothing ever seems to change. In today’s world, no one can afford to have those responsible for cyber security falling asleep at the switch. Do politicians not realize they live here too? Any lapse in security will affect them, maybe more so than other groups of people because Washington D.C. is a prime target and may be the first to be struck by a cyber attack.
You have to assume a crisis will strike the United States and based on real world intelligence gathering the next crisis could be a cyber attack. You will not have time to prepare because once you realize it has happened it will be too late.
Gertz, B. (2014, February 04). Retrieved 2014, from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/04/obamacare-network-vulnerable-to-cyber-attack/?intcmp=latestnews
Rein, C. T. (2014, February). Retrieved 2014, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/senate-cybersecurity-report-finds-agencies-often-fail-to-take-basic-preventive-measures/2014/02/03/493390c2-8ab6-11e3-833c-33098f9e5267_story.html