New documents leaked to ProPublica by Edward Snowden detail an increase in domestic and foreign spying. As one might come to expect these don’t require a search warrant. The document details an attempt at foiling the attempts of foreign and domestic hackers. It’s comes at a time when US intelligence programs are under the greatest scrutiny. Of course the motive of this secret action is to protect the US government, American people, and businesses from hackers foreign an abroad. In other news, perhaps the largest breach in government data has recently occurred. It makes one wonder the value of this increase in surveillance. I wouldn’t make the argument that you can stop all cyber attacks, but it would seem that the current model of protection has failed more than once since 2012. According to a report from the Government Accountability Office, the number of security incidents has risen from around 10,400 in 2009 to more than 25,500 in 2013. That report only covers events up to 2013, but it further questions the effectiveness of the government’s efforts to protect us. “Security incidents” carries a broad definition, and it could mean anything from a kid on his laptop attempting an exploit on a government website, or perhaps a foreign sponsored hacker stealing gigabytes of sensitive information.
Naming a few big breaches in past years, it becomes very clear the US government has a very serious security issue. A story by NextGov describes a serious computer breach at the White House, and the State Department. NextGov also tells us of the Postal Service being hacked. None of these breaches were minor. The list of serious “incidents” since 2012 could go on. I think the point has been made that more needs to be done, and another attempt has been made with the “Protecting Cyber Networks Act.” Citing the opening statement: “To improve cybersecurity in the United States through enhanced sharing of information about cybersecurity threats, to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to enhance multi-directional sharing of information related to cybersecurity risks and strengthen privacy and civil liberties protections, and for other purposes.” I think I could bring into question the strengthening of privacy, civil liberty protection, and the remarkable broadness similar to the PATRIOT act, but that isn’t the aim of this article. Once again here we are with the breach of 4 million current and former federal employee’s personal information. The cybersecurity castle is under siege, and the walls have been breached. While the government fiddles around, these intrusions will continue.
This goes without mentioning the data breaches that have affected the private industry or the sacrifices of our privacy for “protection.” Our corporate and industrial trade secrets our flying out the window, and we cry havoc when we lose our industry to counties like China, Which has been known for the prolific theft of intellectual property. This issue is deeper than legislation, and this security gap must be filled.
This article was written by Carson Bolter, a writer for dusk magazine.