Guest Editorial: Improving cybersecurity vitally important to U.S.

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Cybersecurity goes beyond protecting your identity or ensuring safe elections. As recent weeks have demonstrated, internet security is just as important to the nation’s infrastructure as roads, bridges and airports.

In May, Christopher Krebs, former head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, warned a congressional hearing that the world was on the cusp of a “pandemic of a different variety. … Cybercriminals have been allowed to run amok while governments have mainly watched from the sidelines, unclear on whether cybercrime is a national security-level threat. If there was any remaining doubt on that front, let’s dispense with it now: Too many lives are at stake.”

Two days later, Colonial Pipeline was struck by the largest known hack on U.S. energy infrastructure. The result was a shutdown of a major fuel pipeline connecting the East Coast, resulting in long lines and soaring prices at gas stations as consumers engaged in panic buying. The company paid hackers $4.4 million to regain control of its systems.

Now, JBS Foods has been hit by a ransomware attack on its operations in North America and Australia. JBS, the world’s largest meat producer, has closed facilities in several states and canceled shifts at other plants.

“Attackers are operating like a well-oiled business industry, yielding high profits in a year that most businesses struggled,” one threat analyst told “Why? The new ransomware business model is relentless, extortive, and paying off.”

Threats to government entities are equally nefarious. In January, the office of Washington’s state auditor was hacked, exposing the files of 1.6 million unemployment claims from last year. The auditor had received the files from the Employment Security Department while investigating fraudulent claims that were paid.

The threat of identity theft through the hacking of banks or credit companies or government agencies is well known. Victims can spend countless hours canceling credit cards, securing accounts and explaining that, no, they did not purchase $10,000 worth of items on Amazon.

But cybersecurity threats against major…


Improving Cybersecurity Pitfalls With Self-Education, System Assessments And Skills Training

Protect yourself from online attacks that threaten your identity, your files, your system, and your financial well-being.

Michael Moniz, Co-Founder, President, and CEO of Circadence, a leader in cybersecurity learning and training solutions. 

Every election is an uphill battle when it comes to ensuring the proper cybersecurity precautions are in place. Cybersecurity plays a big role in the election process even though it’s not the first thing people always think about when heading to the polls or filling out their mail-in ballot. Cybersecurity practices help protect the votes of the American people. Below is a summary of what and how cybersecurity pitfalls can cause challenges during an election and a few ways to overcome them with human-centered cyber skills training. 

The Vulnerabilities Of Election Security

There are many ways cyberthreats can infiltrate an election system and cause adverse effects. Some of these are at in-person voting polls, hacktivists groups threatening voter data, social media hacktivist manipulation, and a lack of cybersecurity training for election workers and volunteers.

Vulnerability during an election is nothing new to our country. Hacktivist groups compromise election security through various technology loopholes, such as:

• Shutting down a voter registration database at voting polls.

• Uploading voter files with false information.

• Compromising a county’s social media account and posting fake voting locations, news and headlines.

• Shutting down cell towers in specific areas.

The progress and pains that the 2020 general election has brought are prompting federal, state, city and county agencies to recalculate, recalibrate and reevaluate their election systems, processes and technology to address the threat of election interference and voter fraud.

Social Media Fabrications 

Over the last year, we’ve seen how the digital age and social media play a role in how voters obtain news and information, even if it’s from unauthorized sources. Unfortunately, hacktivist groups can infiltrate social media accounts, create new authoritative-looking accounts and use social sharing to release unverified information that tries to alter the political opinions of the public.

Years ago, political smear campaigns took place during TV…


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