Thursday, June 11, 2015

Cyber Security: An Attack on our Nation

by Sen. John Boozman: Make no mistake about it, cyber attacks are a threat to our national security. As you likely heard in the news, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently revealed that a breach of computer systems in their agency compromised the records of up to 4 million current and former federal employees, many of them with security clearances. The Obama Administration has identified that hackers in China are most likely responsible for this attack. I am especially troubled by the revelation that the Chinese government may have been involved in this massive breach.

Earlier this week, we learned of yet another cyber attack -- this time, the public website of the United States Army was hacked -- and this just adds to a long, disturbing list of U.S. Government websites that have been hacked. Clearly our nation must do a better job of protecting and securing information contained on important websites.

We know that hackers are now one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century and one that we must deal with on a daily basis. Substantial improvement in our cyber databases and defenses is perilously overdue. Washington must act quickly.

Consider these attacks which have occurred recently:
  • Breach of computer systems of the Office of Personnel Management. (Second time in a little over a year.)
  • U.S. Army website hacked.
  • Security breach at the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Unclassified networks at the White House and State Department were also recently hacked.
  • In November 2014 the private files of more than 25,000 Department of Homeland Security employees were compromised by another cyber attack.
We recognize this is a global problem. There are people being paid to try to get inside our systems 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Last year alone there were almost 61,000 cyber attacks and security breaches across the entire federal government. The Government Accountability Office estimates that the number of cyber incidents involving government agencies has jumped 35 percent between 2010 and 2013.

Clearly this is a national security issue and we must find a way to strengthen cyber security for every federal agency. We can't continue to let foreign governments such as China, or rogue hackers for that matter, bully our federal agencies or our corporations. It is critical that we strengthen cyber security and have timely responses ready when coordinated attacks such as the one at the OPM occur. We have the best computer minds in the world and we can develop effective detection systems, but we must work together to accomplish it.

Tags: John Boozman, U.S. Senator, Arkansas, Cyber Security, attack on our nation, commentary To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

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