The U.S government has started to play the blame game, and as of last week, officially accused Iranian hackers of specific cyber attacks to the financial sector and a dam during 2011 to 2013. Such attacks have brought up concerns about the country’s infrastructure and its ability to protect the privacy of the American people. And the U.S isn’t the only country dealing with cybercrimes. Just this year, Ukraine lost power in many parts of the country because of a cyber attack, believed to be committed by Russian hackers. And governments aren’t the only victims either. In 2014, North Korea was accused of hacking into Sony’s cyber sphere—company and employee information was stolen, including unreleased films. The growing amount of cybercrimes pose the question if the U.S. government is doing enough to prevent cybercrime and protect its citizens.
What is the U.S Government Doing about Cybercrimes?
Since entering office, President Obama has worked toward greater resources and prevention and detection of cybercrimes throughout the U.S. It’s not just about privacy, Obama claims, but about public safety. In 2015, at a Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection Summit at Stanford University, Obama said, “Much of our critical infrastructure—our financial systems, our power grid, health systems—run on networks connected to the Internet, which is hugely empowering but also dangerous, and creates new points of vulnerability that we didn’t have before. Foreign governments and criminals are probing these systems every single day. We only have to think of real-life examples —an air traffic control system going down and disrupting flights, or blackouts that plunge cities into darkness —to imagine what a set of systematic cyber attacks might do. So this is also a matter of public safety.” At the summit, Obama signed an executive order to establish standards in regards to cybersecurity, allowing companies to share classified cyber threat information.
Should the U.S Government Do More For Cybersecurity?
But the U.S. government won’t stop with just an executive order. With these recent large-scale attacks, the U.S. hopes that by accusing responsible hackers, they will be able to set consequences and dissuade future attacks. That’s why a U.S. district court has officially indicted 7 Iranian hackers. According to the Department of Justice, the hackers were employed by Iran-based ITSecTeam and Mersad Company and performed the hacks on behalf of the Iranian government. With these hacks, and with concerns for more cybercrime in the future, the U.S. is working with the private sector to advance cybersecurity. As Obama says, “There’s only one way to defend America from these cyber threats, and that is through government and industry working together, sharing appropriate information as true partners.” If the private sector and the U.S. government recognize the need for enhanced cybersecurity, so should individuals and companies as they strive to protect their information and systems from hackers.