The current state of the U.S. economy, financial market turmoil, and a possible $700 billion solution dominates business news. These are issues impacting every American and every enterprise no matter the size or industry. The importance of the Internet to commerce, communication and the nation’s defense is also a vital issue to individuals, enterprises and organizations across the nation. This important business lifeline is now under constant attack and the cyber-crooks are using home-based machines for their dirty-work!
National policymakers and cyber security experts are working to develop a plan allowing the government to effectively monitor private computer networks for cyber attacks, without infringing on the privacy rights of business owners and consumers whose data flows through these networks. A White House cyber security analyst estimates business losses due to cyber attacks tops two hundred billion dollars a year! In fact, one military contractor recently spent up to fifteen billion dollars to repair the damage caused by one cyber attack.
Small firms cannot count on escaping cyber-crooks because they are small and hope to fly under the radar. One new report indicates small networks and even individual personal computers play a big part in crippling cyber attacks. Researchers from SecureWorks found cyber criminals often use vulnerable personal computers or small networks as bots to launch cyber attacks!
Think these online crooks are a million miles away? Think again! In fact, in the SecureWorks report, the United States tops the list for cyber attacks with more than twenty and a half million attempted cyber crimes originating from U-S computers. China is ranked second with 7.7 million attempted attacks emanating from computers within its borders. Brazil is ranked third, followed by South Korea, Poland, Japan and Russia. These findings illustrate the ineffectiveness of simply blocking incoming communications from foreign IP addresses as a way to defend your organization from cyber attacks, as many hackers hijack computers outside their borders to attack their victims.
So what can individuals, small firms and community leaders do? Make sure your computers are protected. There is an important cyber-security summit scheduled for next month. The 2008 GTISC Security Summit on Emerging Cyber Security Threats is aimed at helping understand threats to digital information and develop strategies for securing it. The October 15, 2008 meeting hosted by Georgia Tech’s Information Security Center will bring together thought leaders in the information technology and security fields to explore key cyber security threats and ways for countering them. This is the sixth security summit hosted at Georgia Tech since 2004.
Lt. Gen. Robert J. “Bob” Elder is among the speakers for next month’s summit. Elder is Commander, 8th Air Force, Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and Joint Functional Component Commander for Global Strike and Integration, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB, Neb. He also commands the Air Force service component headquarters for cyberspace, global strike and network operations, and Strategic Command’s bomber and reconnaissance Task Force 204. The “Mighty Eighth” provides long-range global strike, cyber warfare, information operations, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, battle management, and expeditionary construction capabilities to theater combatant commanders. Eighth Air Force is also responsible for operation and security of the Air Force computer enterprise network.
Organizers say the summit is not a product focused meeting. Instead, more than 250 attendees from academia, government and industry gather to discuss emerging cyber threats and explore potential solutions. You can learn more about attending by clicking here.