Despite the increasing clarity of the threat to U.S. national security emanating from cyberspace, the country is woefully unprepared to meet it, according to testimony from government IT experts at a hearing held by Congress’ cyber security subcommittee.
Gregory Wilshusen, director of information security issues for the Government Accountability Office, said a serious cyber attack now could cause untold damage.
“The federal government continues to face significant challenges in protecting the nation’s cyber-reliant critical infrastructure and federal information systems,” he testified, according to Government Computer News.
Another expert, James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that the example of the banking sector should demonstrate how serious the problem really is, according to NextGov.
No sector is as ripe a target for hackers, Lewis told the subcommittee, and the major banks have implemented some of the world’s most extensive information security systems. For all that, however, they are still routinely hacked, NextGov quotes him as saying.
Cloud computing is one of the most promising new technologies that could help secure the nation’s computers, according to cyber security consultant Mischel Kwon, NextGov goes on to report.
Centralizing important computing infrastructure in the cloud means that there are fewer access points for a potential attacker, and the ones that remain will be in the hands of dedicated professionals, according to Kwon. This means that the task of crippling the nation’s industry and government over the internet will be much more difficult, Kwon said, according to NextGov.
Other experts say that the counterargument to this is that if an attacker does manage to breach cloud security, he or she would have access to massive amounts of important information contained in that particular cloud system, according to Information Week.