Monday, September 24, 2012

Cybersecurity: An Issue of National Security

With the 2012 election cycle heating up, some hot-button issues among the candidates, like economic reform and healthcare, are already getting plenty of media attention. But one issue that may be a little under the radar is the issue of cybersecurity and its impact on the American consumer. It’s important for everyone to understand the potential for future cybersecurity legislation, how it affects your daily online life, and what you can do to protect yourself from potential cyber attacks.

Protecting Your Data Without Legislation

There are a number of cybersecurity solutions available for both individuals and large businesses, but it’s often hard to settle on a single solution. For instance, if your main security issues are tied up in identity theft, protection services such as Lifelock can be a possible solution. This platform monitors all things related to your identity (tracks your credit score, monitors your identity for potential theft threats, etc). On the flip side, you may be concerned with major data breaches at your company, such as a hacked firewall, or even a blog. The point is, you may need to use multiple outlets to ensure your online data is safe.

Why Cybersecurity is Such a Big Issue

When it comes to the threat of cyber attacks, fear is a big motivator. In recent years, the number of digitally based attacks dramatically increased as both government institutions and large, enterprise-level corporations have become the victims of major data breaches. The fear is that cyber terrorists will be able to take down infrastructure resources by compromising large datasets within some of our nation’s largest servers and datacenters. This includes everything from power grids to telecom resources to natural gas pipelines that are all managed using sophisticated data systems.

Cyber Politics: Obama and Romney on Cybersecurity Legislation

It is abundantly clear that both parties agree that something needs to be done about potential cyber threats. But as with any complex legislation, the two parties cannot come to agreement on legislation methods. To provide a little bit of context, the Obama administration recently released their 2012 party platform and dedicated roughly 200 words to the subject while the Republican platform gave the topic nearly twice as much space in their document.

  • Obama – Obama made cybersecurity a major issue of his 2008 campaign. Though he’s had more than his fair share of near misses with cybersecurity legislation – particularly with the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 – he has made it clear that cyber-related attacks are a very real threat to this country’s security, according to Forbes.
  • Romney – There has been a lot of heavy-handed criticism of the president’s cybersecurity efforts from the Republican side. Network World reports that the main critique is that the Obama administration’s cybersecurity efforts are costly, and rely far too much on defensive tactics rather than developing offensive deterrents for cyber terrorists.

These are not abstract ideas, but rather real decisions that can change the way we operate online. Since we live in an age where almost ever aspect of our lives are lived out in the digital realm, cybersecurity policies can be life changing.

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