In terms of computer infrastructure, the country has seen marked growth in the need for heightened security of critical operations. Escalating use of information technology to improve performance; increased competitive pressures from deregulation and globalization; and fiscal demands to consolidate operations have resulted in a reduction in redundancy and reserve capacity.
The threat of cyber-terrorism will continue to grow as leadership positions in extremist organizations are increasingly filled with younger, "Internet-savvy" individuals. Most worrisome is a potential coordinated attack on national critical infrastructures. While the United States has not yet experienced this sort of attack, it is not hard to imagine such a threat based on the intrusions we have seen to date. Cyber attacks know no national boundaries and can be devastating in scope and effect. International cooperation and information sharing is therefore critical in order to more effectively respond to this growing threat.
Cybersecurity involves protecting information by preventing, detecting, and responding to attacks. Unfortunately, even the strictest precautions cannot guarantee protection from every attack. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the chances.
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has stated that the first step in protecting yourself is to recognize the risks and become familiar with some of the associated terminology.
Hacker, attacker or intruder - These terms are applied to the people who seek to exploit weaknesses in software and computer systems for their own gain. Although their intentions are sometimes fairly benign and motivated solely by curiosity, their actions typically violate the intended use of the systems they are exploiting. The results can range from mere mischief (creating a virus with no intentionally negative impact) to malicious (stealing or altering information).
Malicious code - This category includes code such as viruses, worms, and Trojan Horses. Although some people use these terms interchangeably, they have unique characteristics.
In addition, the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) has identified 10 cybersecurity tips:
Protect Your Workplace
The following Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posters provide guidance on physical and cybersecurity and how to report suspicious behavior, activity, and cyber incidents. To view or download one of the posters, simply click the image. If you would like, you can download all of the posters at the same time using the Download Complete Series link.