The celebrity nude picture leak scandal of August 2014 demonstrated a distinct hole in the cybersecurity of Apple Inc.'s cloud servers. The latest and most expansive breach of security for public figures, this incident is representative of the rising risk of cybercrime. The 2014 U.S. State of Cybercrime Survey brings together the responses of over 500 US executives, cybersecurity professionals, and others to create a picture of the state of the nation's defense against cybercrime, in both public and private sectors.
The findings indicate that the United States is ill-equipped to deal with
the mounting threat posed by cyberterrorists. The survey cites Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, quoting that he “has ranked cybercrime as the top national security threat, higher than that of terrorism, espionage, and weapons of mass destruction.” “Theincreasing level of collaboration among cyber-criminals allows them to compartmentalize their operations, greatly increasing the sophistication of their criminal endeavors,” says deputy special agent William Noonan, who is in charge of the U.S. Secret Service Criminal Investigative Division. The reason cybercrime has become such a pressing threat is because many of the country's oil, water, power, and transportation infrastructures are keyed into outdated information systems. Many utility companies still run on software that is no longer covered by systematic security updates. Another concern is the growing number of physical items that are being plugged into networks. Home appliances, home security systems, automobiles, and most consumer devices are all linked into a handful of major networks that have to provide a considerable amount of oversight. Cybercrime also poses a threat to regular consumers. The hackers that compromised the servers at Target and Sony demonstrated that the vulnerabilities of these corporations could prove devastating to the customers who find their personal information at risk. Cayuga county resident Jason Buschbascher, 19, speaks to his own doubts about his security from cybercrime: “I'm not a computers guy. I know that I wouldn't know if I'd been hacked. When I see stuff about guys like Snowden and Anonymous, I worry about hwat they ain't doing.”
As the threat of cybercrime rises, the call to collaborate on defense
against it rises as well. Eighty-two percent of companies with “high-performing security practices” collaborate in order to better combat the shared threat of cybercrime, according to the survey.
Collaboration is the evident key idea in combating these cybersecurity attacks; as
the hackers congregate and form new and innovative ways to attack digital networks, so must those under siege group together to form a defensive shield against it.