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Improving Cybersecurity

Big Picture

The threat of cyberattacks against the U.S. is severe. What has become frighteningly common is the level of cyberwarfare targeted toward critical American infrastructure, leaving hospitals, companies, oil pipelines and more paralyzed. It’s only a matter of time before we see stronger and more damaging attacks on U.S. critical infrastructure unless we take a more proactive approach to addressing the weaknesses in our organizational cybersecurity. We must remain diligent in educating people about how to protect themselves on the internet, updating that information as often as needed. Encouraging people to pursue the field of cybersecurity will also assist in mitigating cyber threats. If our cybersecurity were stronger across the board, we’d become less of a target for attacks and would strengthen our position in the cyber environment.

Operative Definitions

  1. Cyberattacks: Any deliberate effort to steal, expose, alter, disable or destroy data, applications or other aspects via unauthorized access to a computer system, network or device. 

  2. Cybersecurity: Any technology, measure or practice utilized to prevent or mitigate cyberattacks.

Important Facts and Statistics

  1. Between 2020 and 2021, cyberattacks in the United States increased by 300% within nine months, according to Check Point’s ThreatCloud database.

  2. U.S. Utilities has been attacked 300 times every week, with an increase of 50% in just 2 months in 2021. 

  3. The cost of cybercrime is predicted to hit $8 trillion in 2023 and will grow to $10.5 trillion by 2025.

Two-Point Plan

(1) Increase cybersecurity education.

It may sound overly simple, but the best way to prevent cyberattacks from disabling an organization is through cybersecurity training. This entails keeping employees aware of the threats inherent in using technology and how they can protect themselves and the organization. Unfortunately, as technology is constantly changing, training programs can quickly become outdated and pointless. That’s why it’s important to be diligent and proactive in cybersecurity. Educating individuals proactively can prevent hackers from gaining easy access to a system or database.

(2) Encourage cybersecurity jobs. 

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs remains at 3.5 million in 2023, with about 750,000 of those positions in the United States. They predict that the disparity between supply and demand will remain through 2025 unless we do something about it. Publicly advocating for younger individuals to pursue careers in cybersecurity, like the U.S. has done for STEM in the past, can be a part of the solution. Programs such as the Cybersecurity Youth Apprenticeship Initiative (CYAI), funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, exist to promote cybersecurity apprenticeships and training. If more of these programs were established with local support for cybersecurity, the supply could increase and fulfill demands. 

Why this Initiative is Important

It’s a brute fact that cyberattacks will continue to exist and impact U.S. infrastructure. We need to limit the impact that cybercrime has on the United States. By focusing on increasing cybersecurity efforts through education and career incentives, we can reduce the impact of cyberattacks.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.

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