Sept 15–US General Paul Nakasone, who is the head of the US Cyber Command and the director of the National Security Agency (NSA), states that he intends to mount a substantial response to the deluge of ransomware attacks that are debilitating American government agencies and enterprises.
Nakasone describes “an intense focus” on the part of federal cyber security experts when it comes to combatting cyber adversaries. America will “impose costs when necessary,” he continued. Nakasone’s agencies remain “very, very focused on cyber security.”
The wave of cyber attacks
Earlier this year, US agencies dubbed ransomware a ‘national security threat’. Since then, the Biden administration has made progress in addressing the nation’s cyber security gaps. In May, Biden signed an executive order designed to enhance federal agencies’ cyber security. Subsequently, the Biden broached the subject of cyber security with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Across the past 12 months, US organizations have contended with a wave of cyber attacks. These include the SolarWinds espionage campaign, attacks on public schools, attacks on local governments, supply chain attacks and more.
The US is not the only nation experiencing an increase in incidents. A new report from the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) warns of “significant targeting, both domestically and globally, of essential services.”
International security efforts
Italy aims to reinforce critical security infrastructure with a newly developed cyber security agency and new funding. In early August, the main data center in the country’s Lazio region incurred a ransomware attack. As a result, many critical web portals and data repositories were temporarily unavailable. Later in the month, hackers managed to corrupt statistical and epidemiological data in the Tuscany region.
Similarly, Japan has just pulled together a new Digital Agency to take on cyber security issues. The agency aims to reduce the probability of a cyber war with neighboring nations.
As elections approach, Germany has made new recommendations regarding how the government should contend with cyber security challenges. The current government asserts that nation-state actors are responsible for pre-election information theft.
In Nordic nations, leaders are moving forward with digital currencies and next generation financial technologies. Riksbank is working on an e-Krona, which could replace cash. Other groups have smaller digital currency projects underway. These innovations are expected to precipitate discussions around cyber security.
For the majority of the world, cyber security remains a complex challenge. The internet is now instrumental in government operations, business settings, and within peoples’ everyday lives. Protecting vulnerable populations from cyber threats is an imperative. In today’s digital landscape, entities and organizations must remain agile and continually adopt new policies, practices and educational initiatives around cyber security.
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