via HS Today
While a “cyber Armageddon” does not appear imminent, cyber attacks constitute a serious challenge to US national security and demand greater attention from American leaders, according to a new study from the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).
“US government networks are vulnerable,” declared the CNAS report, America’s Cyber Future Security and Prosperity in the Information Age, “with approximately 1.8 billion cyber attacks of varying sophistication targeting Congress and federal agencies each month. Foreign cyber intruders have penetrated America’s power grid, and while their intentions are unclear, the potential for harm is considerable.”
US military planners, the report cautioned, already must guard against a range of cyber attacks on their communications, weapons, logistics and navigation systems, and the threat to military networks is growing. Cyber attacks could disable critical equipment and even turn it against its users. Despite productive efforts by the US government and the private sector to strengthen cyber security, the increasing sophistication of cyber threats continues to outpace progress.
The report offered several recommendations.
First it recommended the US government adopt a comprehensive strategy for a safe and secure cyberspace. “The US government,” the report said, “should aim to keep malicious activity in cyberspace below a threshold at which it might imperil general confidence in the security of the Internet.”
To do this, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should strengthen its capacity for risk assessment and incident response. Congress should pass legislation that creates a new quasi-governmental “fusion” center to improve information sharing, clarifies DHS’s legal authority to monitor US government networks, enables Internet service providers to better cooperate with the US government, and bolsters cyber security education and recruitment programs.