Today the San Jose Mercury News completed an excellent series on the current cybercrime state-of-affairs, and the picture they paint isn't pretty. The problems are getting worse, it's costing us billions and, yet, there (still) is basically no governmental leadership to do much about it.
Worst of all, I would assume that most readers of this blog are now doing a collective palms-up shoulder shrug as you say, "What's new?"
From today's piece:
Since the outbreak of a cybercrime epidemic that has cost the American economy billions of dollars, the federal government has failed to respond with enough resources, attention and determination to combat the cyberthreat, a Mercury News investigation reveals.
"The U.S. government has not devoted the leadership and energy that this issue needs," said Paul Kurtz, a former administration homeland and cybersecurity adviser. "It's been neglected."
Even as the White House asked last week for $154 million toward a new cybersecurity initiative expected to reach billions of dollars over the next several years, security experts complain the administration remains too focused on the risks of online espionage and information warfare, overlooking the international criminals who are stealing a fortune through the Internet.
"They're still not taking cybercrime seriously enough," said former administration cybersecurity adviser Marcus Sachs, now at Verizon Communications, reflecting the views of several former White House officials.
And, the Administration isn't the only target for blame. From a sidebar story on cybercrime legislation...
Congress has either failed to pass bills or sent ineffective legislation to the president. Agencies have shied away from imposing regulations. Leaders have not bothered to make sure computer users understand the problem - if the officials themselves even comprehend the threats.
"Overall, I was amazed at the lack of knowledge, not only among presidential staff, but at the Cabinet level, and the Senate and House," McAfee Chief Executive Dave DeWalt said after meeting in the summer with senators, Congress members and Cabinet secretaries about information security.
The threats aren't easily grasped: U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, whose district includes much of Silicon Valley, is one of Capitol Hill's most Internet-savvy legislators. Yet even Lofgren, when asked in August if she knew what a botnet is, responded only with, "Sort of." Her spokesman said most other members of Congress likely could not even make that claim.
The Merc has lots of cool/helpful graphics to illustrate the issue and features videos of several key players including Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. Part I is here and Part II is here.