Cybersecurity Education

A Google search of ‘cybersecurity’ yields hundreds of options to research.

The recent (March, 2018) revelation about Russian cyberattacks on the U. S. energy grid sounded the alarm about potential cyber threats to the U.S. energy grid. The Department of Energy took note and announced plans to create a new office dedicated to cybersecurity and energy security.

After the Atlanta ransomware attack brought the city to its knees, a report in The New York Times, titled “A Cyberattack Hobbles Atlanta and Security Experts Shudder,” stated that the city’s 8,000 employees lost their computer access for five days, and the world’s busiest airport went even longer without access to Wi-Fi. As reliance on computer networks becomes part of our day-to- day operations, so too does the potential for cyberattacks increase along with it.

Cyber attackers block access until their demanded ransom is paid. Then, and only then, do they unlock it. As Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms compared, “It’s very much like a hostage situation.” Continuing, she stated, “. . . we have to really make sure that we continue to focus on the things that people can’t see, and digital infrastructure is very important.” SamSam, a hacking crew, is a meticulously active ransomware attack group – one of the more successful ransomware rings, who extorted more than $1 million dollars from thirty targeted organizations in 2018. Their individual identity is uncertain.

“The next Dec. 7 won’t be airplanes and torpedoes coming at Pearl Harbor, it’s going to be triggered with an attack on our energy grid with rolling blackouts and chaos,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, reported. According to a survey conducted in part by the University of Maryland, about one- quarter of local governments reported that they were experiencing attacks of one kind or another, successful or not, at least as often as once an hour. Yet less than half of the local governments surveyed said they had developed a formal cybersecurity policy, and only 34 percent said they had a written strategy to recover from breaches.

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