How often do you use the computer? Once a day? Once a class? Chances are, being a student at Rocky Hill School, you use the computer more than the average person. Over sixty percent of teenagers spend on 20 hours per week using their computers. That’s an average of 2.86 hours per day, including the weekends. At Rocky Hill, where almost every class uses a computer and all of our homework is posted on Google Classroom, the average computer time is significantly greater.
Now, consider this: when was the last time you ran a virus scan? When was the last time you checked if the site you clicked on began with “https”? What browser do you use? What have you downloaded recently? Did you make sure it was safe?
These questions and many more are considered by cyber security experts daily. They are constantly questioning and thinking and working through how to fix these problems. On occasion, they fail to see a particular route of attack. This can lead to problems simple enough to be solved with one virus scan, or it can inflate into massive information breaches. These seem to occur almost daily now, ranging from the Sony Hack some months ago, to CIA data leaks, to a recent FBI hack just over week ago, where the names and contact information of 30,000 FBI and DHS workers were posted around the web.
But what can be done about this? How can you defend against attacks you never see coming?
President Obama has an idea: let’s fund a cyber security initiative to protect the USA from more hacks like these. On February 8th, 2016, he signed two executive orders: one creating the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, and the Federal Privacy Council. The former will made be up of business leader, technological innovators, and law enforcement officers that will team up to secure the USA from future attacks. The latter will combine the knowledge of the chief privacy officers from 25 federal agencies, who will coordinate to enhance the security of the immense volume of information the government collects.
These committees, along with a proposed budget for the cybersecurity initiative of $19 billion, will go into effect soon. The funding will come in 2017, but the action plan is in place. In addition to those two groups mentioned above, there’s a third one that has been in place for some time, and is gearing up to be fully operational by 2018: the US Cyber Command. They are currently building a “Cyber Mission Force” of over one hundred teams assembled from military personnel, civilian experts, and private contractors around the nation.
All of this certainly looks impressive. However, it will have to hold up against constant bombardment from foreign powers and rogue cells attempting to break into the USA databases. Time will tell if this new initiative will truly work.
One thing is for certain: the names are freaking awesome.