The Impact of Government Cyber Security on Our Lives

Every day, government agencies fend off thousands of cyberattacks ranging from simple phishing emails to more sophisticated attempts at breaching national security data.

Cyberattacks on governments can have devastating repercussions. Government entities hold vast quantities of personal information that must adhere to stringent regulations like HIPAA or Gramm-Leach-Bliley.

Disruptive Attacks

Criminally or politically driven, cyber attacks often seek to take money, information or disrupt essential services in an effort to steal it or harm essential infrastructure. Because of this, safeguarding the internet should be everyone’s shared responsibility – from individuals, to families, small and large businesses, telecommunication providers and governments.

As the threat landscape continues to change and sophisticated attackers exploit vulnerabilities, preventing and mitigating cyberattacks is both challenging and essential. Governments, private companies and citizens all play an essential role in safeguarding our digital world by providing services like healthcare cybersecurity solutions all the while driving improved standards and tools that can be updated continuously.

Cyberattacks can have catastrophic repercussions. For instance, the Office of Personnel Management data breach of 2014 affected more than 20 million people and had lasting ramifications; similarly hackers disabling Vanuatu government systems in November 2022 left millions deprived of email and online services for nearly one month – leaving many without access to their emails and other essential services.

Attacks can be criminal or politically-driven; hackers often enjoy taking down computer systems for both pleasure and financial gain. Meanwhile, nation-state actors and hacktivists operate undercover to steal vital infrastructure assets and exert political pressure – endangering national security in the process.

These threats can have serious repercussions for both the economy and public safety, such as lost revenues, damaged reputations, reduced business opportunities or potential legal ramifications. It’s critical that the federal government improve its ability to detect, deter and respond effectively against such threats.

As part of their responsibility to secure the internet for all, it’s also crucial that the Federal Government improve its communication and collaboration with private industry. By working together to make products secure for sale online and sharing threat intelligence collected from companies to reduce online crime, together we can make the internet a safer space.

As much as the United States still needs to do in terms of improving cybersecurity, they’re doing their part by not sitting back on efforts they take. One such example was when the Department of Defense (DoD) made headlines for quickly informing Microsoft about a vulnerability found in Windows 10. Their action set an important precedent and set an important example to other nations around the globe.

Data Breach

Cyber criminals steal data for various reasons. They could sell the information on the black market, or use it for more sinister activities like espionage. Data stolen could include anything from personal details like credit card numbers and Social Security numbers to confidential company data such as customer lists and source codes – any time an unauthorized individual views this data breach occurs for an organization.

Data breaches in the private sector can have devastating repercussions for both a company and its customers, but data breaches in government are an especially attractive target for hackers as government agencies are comprised of multiple interwoven systems containing sensitive data; their limited budgets also make them less vigilant about updates to software patches and cybersecurity measures.

When government agencies become victims of data breaches, sensitive information like military operations, national infrastructure details and political dealings could become vulnerable and expose itself to foreign governments – with dire repercussions for all citizens as a whole.

When a company experiences a data breach, they must notify all affected individuals within an appropriate amount of time after its occurrence. Notification should include details about how and why the breach happened as well as whether information was encrypted. Affected individuals must also have the chance to freeze/monitor their credit – failing which they may face fines, reputational damage and business disruption as a result.

Data breaches can have devastating psychological repercussions for those whose data was stolen by cybercriminals, leaving victims feeling powerless and fearful that cybercriminals may use it against them or their loved ones. Victims must seek mental health support after experiencing a data breach to address these emotions and recover.

The data breach at Sony Pictures Entertainment left many feeling helpless and angry. Side Effects blogger Mark Lane wrote about his experience after learning his personal information had been part of the breach; distraught at feeling powerless to do anything about it, Lane decided to write about his experiences to raise awareness.

Political Influence

Political influence refers to the ability of private individuals and groups to exert control over the decisions and actions taken by public servants who possess formal-legal authority to make public policy. Such individuals or groups don’t actually hold relevant government offices, yet have enough clout and motivational power over those who do hold office to force or motivate their actions on those in authority.

Individuals and groups with cybersecurity influence often employ various strategies to shape policy decisions related to cybersecurity measures. They may engage in lobbying efforts, provide substantial support to political campaigns, or utilize their expertise to influence the development of cybersecurity regulations and practices. Just as in other areas of political influence, the literature in the field of cybersecurity highlights how those with greater resources and access can have a greater impact on shaping cybersecurity agendas and policies.

Public opinion regarding the influence of ordinary citizens in cybersecurity matters remains divided. While many believe that individuals can have an impact by actively engaging in cybersecurity efforts, others express skepticism about the effectiveness of individual actions. These views cut across racial and educational lines, with individuals differing in their sense of efficacy and confidence in their ability to contribute to cybersecurity. Those with higher levels of efficacy tend to be more active in cybersecurity initiatives and may align themselves with specific cybersecurity movements or support candidates who prioritize cybersecurity solutions.

Threats to National Security

Cybersecurity threatens our national security in many ways. Therefore, it is critical that the government monitor cyber threats and take precautionary steps to secure its systems against them.

Spying on someone’s online activity – such as their social media posts and email correspondence – can pose a threat to their security, especially if they engage in activities such as political activism or promotion of anti-government views.

Internet platforms have also become a vital platform for terrorists and extremist groups who aim to sow hatred and recruit members online. Due to its global reach, internet provides bad actors a safe space from international law enforcement when conducting operations against one another.

Cyber attacks from nation states may also be directed against private citizens in an attempt to steal intellectual property, gain military or political advantages or destroy infrastructures – creating a serious challenge for governments who must balance protecting individuals with protecting national infrastructures from attack.

To address these threats, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made a commitment to increasing its cyber incident response capabilities. They have implemented various strategies designed to safeguard against malicious cyber activity – expanding their workforce and deploying new technologies as measures against potential harm.

However, in spite of our best efforts it’s clear that cyber attacks pose a real risk to our lives and this is why the Biden-Harris administration has prioritized strengthening cybersecurity resilience across our nation, investigating and uncovering malicious activity, as well as developing safeguards that fit with democratic values and principles.

As cyber attacks increase in prevalence and scale, governments must adapt their approaches to safeguard critical infrastructure, systems, and networks. To succeed at this effort, they will need to ensure all parts of government collaborate together in identifying and mitigating threats while investing in research and development for technologies which offer the strongest defenses against them.