While many are busy protecting their free speech rights over the Internet, others are more concerned for their online safety. The number of cyber attacks is rising fast, and we’re finding ourselves in the midst of a Cyber Cold War–or better yet, a Code War. But what is a cyber attack and how do you know when you’re a victim?
What is a cyber attack?
A cyber attack is an electronic assault on a system, service, or resource that results in the compromise of the integrity, security, or sensitive information of that system, service, or resource. Electronic assaults come in many forms. The various types of cyber attacks include:
- Website vandalism
- Identity theft
- Intellectual property (IP) theft
- Personal attacks against consumers on home computers
- Attacks on private businesses and government agencies
- Security breaches, unauthorized access, and system infiltration
- Spreading viruses, spyware, and malware to obtain access to networks and systems
- Phishing, vishing, and smishing for sensitive information like passwords or account numbers
Each year, the United States loses $300 billion to corporate cyber attacks–including putting millions of online banking users at risk. Among banks and financial institutions, hackers also target government and defense systems, state organizations, and corporations. Many believe that cyber threats will exceed the number of terrorist threats in the months to come.
How the U.S. Government Prevents Cyber Attacks
“Stopping terrorists is the number-one priority,” said FBI director Robert Mueller. “But down the road, the cyber-threat will be the number one threat to the country. I do not think today it is necessarily [the] number-one threat, but it will be tomorrow.”
As it stands now, 47 of the U.S. states have different requirements on reporting cyber attacks, and private sectors don’t even have to report them all. A wise decision would be for the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate to team up and pass a bill that requires all public and private sectors within U.S. states and territories to report all attacks and threats. This way, the FBI and other government agencies will know how to prevent the next attack from happening.
The United States is among those in the forefront of the Cyber Cold War, and the FBI continues to investigate every day. With 20 U.S. a gencies working with the National Cyber Task Force, they are doing their best to defend the country.
Do you think other government agencies around the world could be doing more to prevent cyber attacks? What tips do you have to share with others on protecting business networks and preventing attacks?
Meghan Faye Wolff is the senior copywriter and marketing specialist for Instabill Corporation. Instabill offers online payment processing solutions for offshore and high risk merchants around the world. Meghan blogs about leading e-commerce and payment industry news.