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Here Are The Biggest Cyber Threats According To The Commander Of US Cyber Command

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Cybercrime, be it personal or nationwide, has seen a growing number of occurrences through the advent of the internet and modern technology.

More and more avenues open up for malicious attackers to take advantage of, which not only cause major losses to business sectors but also have the probability of generating security threats on a global scale.

"Cyberattacks are also happening on the national scale as the internet becomes another arena for global conflict," writes Rebecca Blumenstein in a recently published article in the Wall Street Journal.

Current military efforts are fought on land, but the government acknowledges that a looming threat of terrorist activity may shift to the virtual community, causing significant damages to a nation's security.

While no imminent threats arising from radical groups such as ISIL have been uncovered as of yet, the U.S. Cyber Command's deputy commander, Lt. Gen. James K. McLaughlin, shares that the agency does not disregard any adversary's potential to cause "something dangerous" and thus the government's vigilance on all fronts.

Not the same can be said for larger countries, however, such as China and Russia, as McLaughlin notes that these nations "are very, very capable cyber actors," among several others.

"We look at them seriously," Lt. Gen. McLaughlin explains, adding that the more apparent danger lies in "adversaries taking full control of our networks, losing control of our networks, [and] having a hacker appear to be a trusted user."

These scenarios, if left unchecked, become welcome invitations for cyber attackers to infiltrate confidential government systems. An unknown user accessing files without the government body's knowledge could immobilize military efforts in states of emergencies.

"You can imagine the difficulty that would cause a commander, if he didn't trust his own network or his data," the deputy commander describes. "So we watch those adversaries very closely to make sure we know what they're doing in cyberspace."

Such surveillances, however, come with a substantial amount to maintain, which most CFOs have attributed as the major hurdle security operations face, among which include other obstacles such as lack of skilled resources and management and governance issues.

Lt. Gen. McLaughlin, on the other hand, looks at budget constraints from a broader perspective and sees that major losses are more likely encountered from successful security breaches rather than the "extraordinary cost to getting [security operations] wrong."

He further explains by citing an instance where the government invests billions of dollars in developing military tech over a period of time only to have it stolen by hackers who would "immediately be at that same level that we are."

"From a security perspective, that's a strategic loss for the nation," the deputy commander adds.

Photo: Christiaan Colen | Flickr

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