We are under attack. Whether it is cyber-theft, cyber-terrorism, or cyber warfare, critical systems that generate and distribute electricity on the grid, control commercial aircraft in flight, process bank and credit cardtransactions, coordinate our traffic lights, authorize military action, and control emergency response are targets of daily assaults by hackers whose goal is to penetrate, disrupt, and/or exercise control over critical infra structure in the United States. It is a battle we are losing.
Headlines have recently concentrated on cyber-security incidents that affect the consumer. Identify theft from cyber-security breaches now cost the victim over $500 and 30 hours of remediation work per incident. But the hacking one person is nothing compared to hacking into data systems that house information on millions of consumers. Most recently, financial data from millions of Target customers was stolen by hackers who targeted credit card (Point of Sale or POS) terminals in its stores (a massive data breach that compromised 40 million credit/debit card accounts between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013). As of the date of this article, Target’s cyber-security breach has resulted in $17 million of net expenses (although total expenses were $61M, such losses were partially offset by $44 million in cyber-security insurance payments). The loss resulted in almost a 50% reduction in 2013 fourth-quarter profit for Target (and a 5.3% reduction in total revenue as the breach scared off customers).
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