Friday, October 12, 2012

Why Cybersecurity Matters

In light of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, below are a few excerpts from a great article from the AP's Richard Lardner on why cybersecurity matters.

The issue:
The risk of a devastating cyberattack on the United States is real. But is it too remote to justify the costs of countermeasures? That's the quandary. There's no question the country remains vulnerable to an electronic Pearl Harbor as debate goes on over the role the federal government should play in securing computer networks that control the electrical grid, water supply and other critical sectors.

Why it matters:

Without warning, the electricity goes out, leaving you and your family in the dark for days, perhaps weeks. Or the gates of a dam holding back millions of gallons of water open suddenly and flood towns below. Or pipes in a chemical plant rupture, releasing deadly gas.

Any one, or all, of these nightmare scenarios could be invisibly set in motion by hackers, terrorist groups or foreign governments with the motivation and technical knowhow. Gen. Keith Alexander, head of U.S. Cyber Command, has rated the country's preparedness for a major cyberattack as poor, a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10.

But Congress hasn't taken action to bolster digital defenses. The ideological divisions between Republicans and Democrats have grown so wide that the parties can't agree on how to confront a risk they acknowledge is real. 

Read the full article here:

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