The GAO (Government Accounting Office) released a report on behalf of the Homeland Security Department regarding cyber attacks. GAO report has made about 30 recommendations to ensure cyber security. Cyber attacks are criminal activity that delivers viruses or “bugs” to computers. In today’s electronic age, everything from electrical grids, stock markets, tax data, airline flight systems and even nuclear launch codes may be affected. With the White House looking to put medical records on line, keeping cyber technology free from attacks needs to be a priority.
As a result, General Dynamics Information Technology is looking for computer hackers who can think like the bad guys to help the Homeland Security Department. Applicants must understand hackers’ tools and tactics and be able to analyze Internet traffic and identify vulnerabilities in the federal system. While there are detailed plans for floods, fires and even protection of U.S. airspace, there is no similar response for a major computer attack.
For several years, U.S. computer networks, including those at the Pentagon and other federal agencies, have been under persistent attack from hackers within the U.S. and possibly from other nations, such as China. Industry leaders told Congress during a recent hearing that law enforcement and other protections are too outdated to fend off threats from criminals, terrorists and unfriendly foreign nations. Recently, a former government official revealed that spies had hacked into the U.S. electric grid and left behind computer programs that would let them disrupt service. The intrusions were discovered after electric companies gave the government permission to audit their systems.
Individuals who commit cyber attacks are criminals. Their attacks cost millions of dollars to U.S. businesses as well as government agencies. Being proactive as well as vigilant is the best solution to stop these criminal activities.