By Derrick Thomas
Adjunct Instructor of Cybersecurity at American Military University
Within the past 20 years, computers and electronic devices have integrated themselves into most people’s lives. Gone are the days of writing information on paper—now most information is stored electronically.
While this shift has made information available and easier to exchange, there has also been a rapid increase in criminal activity. Often times, criminals are utilizing these very same networks—those networks that the average person relies on to store and keep information private—to conduct their nefarious activities.
These attacks can impact anyone, anywhere. For example, a recent article revealed that Cisco System Internet phones, which are common in corporations across America, are vulnerable to attacks that turn them into remote bugging devices. Even more dangerously, this article found that hackers can take over air traffic control systems to hijack planes. There are hundreds of other examples of cybercrime happening around the world at any given moment.
A major factor in this rise in cyber-attacks can be attributed to the fact that it is easier and more affordable to engage in cybercrime. The once expensive tools needed to break into these networks are now readily available and can be easily purchased and used any anyone with average computer skills.
Across the world, it has become a priority to detect, prevent and respond to cyber-attacks. Russia, for example, recently announced it is establishing a state system dedicated to combatting cyber-attacks, something the U.S. has had in place as a priority for many years.
But the solution is not clear. The U.S. and European nations have taken a different approach to cybersecurity, according to this article. In February, President Obama issued an executive order on cybersecurity that called for voluntary sharing of information on cyber-attacks. However, the EU has proposed legislation that requires companies to notify national authorities of cyber-attacks.
Agencies and corporations desperately need talented computer experts to combat cybercrime. For example, this news article recently reported that there is a MAJOR skills shortage in Britain that could last for decades. The U.S. government has said straight out said that it needs more computer defense experts. The bottom line is that there is an increasing need for more computer experts to fight cybercrime. It is a career path that shows no sign of slowing down.