Security in Cyberspace
Recent large-scale cybersecurity incidents have highlighted the need for increased vigilance and defense against information security threats that affect organizations worldwide. Hackers stole the personal data of more than 21 million people in the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Breach in 2015.
These cyber-attacks resulted in the theft of personal information of millions of Americans, many of whom are current or former Federal workers and contractors. Stolen information enables hackers to conduct individual targeted cyber-attacks, such as spam and phishing campaigns. Individuals, businesses, and other organizations must stay aware of emerging threats and act quickly to secure their data and networks.
As part of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) leads efforts to improve the Nation’s cybersecurity posture, coordinate cyber information sharing, and proactively manage cyber risks worldwide from its 24x7 operations center.
US-CERT works to provide timely alerts with information about current security issues, vulnerabilities, and exploits. The alerts enable individuals with varying levels of technical understanding to take necessary preventative measures against cyber threats. Additionally, users can provide feedback in the form of a rating level that assists US-CERT in improving future alerts.
Moving forward, one potential option for disseminating key cyber alerts is through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). IPAWS is an internet-based system that allows authorities to issue critical public alerts and warnings via broadcast and to wireless devices such as cell phones. This trusted platform can prevent billions of dollars in damage and defend against cyber threats such as the Heartbleed or ILoveYou exploits.
By using existing mechanisms to communicate with the American public, the Government can raise awareness and help make the public part of the defense against cyber threats.