Cyber Security Becoming a National Security Matter

With the growing use of computers in our daily and professional lives, cyber security is becoming more and more important. With so many institutions relying on computers, governments are starting to realize that cyber security is also a matter of national security. The United States Congress, and its workers have been the targets of many attacks. In 2012 the House IT security office said that it block over 16.5 million intrusion attempts. There are also many cases of Malware making its way on the congressional computers, some generic, and some targeted. Despite this, many people in the house and senate are still unaware of potential security risks associated with computers. Few members of congress can recall any information on cyber security, and almost none have paid attention to it. Many members have passwords for accounts written down, and shared among staff members for ease of use, which present significant security risks. The House IT office states that their number one threat to security of their network is negligent Employees. one of the biggest hurdles is making the network not only safe, but usable. The IT office is striving to make it so that the security is robust, but without having to have an IT member called whenever program has an update. Security that interferes with the Congress’ job may be be ignored, or circumvented. If a exploited, a breach in the Hill’s security could lead to attackers getting classified information, or legislative information not known to the public. While they are making attempts to improve the security on the Hill, even the IT office admits that no solution is going to be 100% perfect.

Even though congress is seemingly unaware of their own security risks, Obama has taken steps to make sure that computer security is made a priority. A collaborative effort by the U.K. and the U.S. in order to improve the security of intelligence agencies is being discussed, and “cyber war games” have been planned. These games will involve the U.S. FBI and NSA and the U.K. MI5 and GCHQ will participate in these games to hopefully strengthen their cyber defense programs. Hopefully this will help protect the more secure and sensitive information that is more valuable to attackers.

Sean Dolan