Cybersecurity = Economic Security

Sep 23, 2013

In an interconnected world, economic security and national security are linked. To maintain a strong and resilient economy, we must protect against the threat of cyberattacks. The Internet is responsible for trillions of dollars in annual online transactions and is a vital conduit for global commerce.

But, today, that valuable asset is under threat by nation-states, hacktivists, and criminal organizations. They compromise public safety, classified information, intellectual property, consumer and financial data, and business networks, putting both our national and economic security at risk. This year, cybercrime topped the intelligence community’s global threat assessment, and former FBI Director Robert Mueller declared that cyberattacks will eventually pose as great a risk to our national security as al-Qaeda.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a partnership established in 2000 between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, receives some 24,000 complaints of online crime every month. Cybercrime cost the economy $525.4 million in 2012—a massive jump from $17.8 million in 2001.

The vast majority of the systems and assets being targeted are owned and operated in the private sector. We tend to only hear about the most high-profile incidents—such as when online criminals shut down a leading news outlet, disrupt a popular social networking website, or breach a major financial network. But the truth is that any company—large or small—that does business online is vulnerable to attack. In fact, small and medium-size businesses actually face greater cyber risks because they often lack the resources to adequately defend themselves.

Information security must be part of all businesses’ risk management framework. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has developed Internet Security Essentials for Business 2.0, available at www.uschamber.com/cybersecurity. This resource informs businesses about threats they could face online and outlines steps to protect their systems, network, and data.

Private industry also needs the federal government to be a strong partner to guard against cyberattacks. To bring leaders together from the private and public sectors to discuss this national priority, the Chamber is holding its Second Annual Cybersecurity Summit. The Chamber will also continue to push for legislation that would direct the government to share timely, reliable, and actionable information on cyber activity with business owners and operators, while ensuring that cybersecurity policies don’t create burdensome regulations or new bureaucracies.

If we work together to tackle this national priority, we can strengthen the security of businesses, communities, our economy, and the country.

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