Today’s government entities rely heavily on their websites and online services. They must be available round the clock, have a high level of security, and provide easy access to resources. They must also comply with the same security standards as other applications. According to a recent Radware study, the biggest concerns of government IT professionals include data leakage, service outages, and revenue loss.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) brings with it a range of new security challenges that governments need to consider. These challenges include securing IoT systems and protecting internal assets. The benefits of IoT systems are huge, but so are the risks. Governments must develop security policies and frameworks to protect personal information.
Currently, most IoT devices are not monitored and are poorly managed. This makes it difficult to detect threats in a timely fashion. This can result in a breach of data privacy. For example, hackers can manipulate IoT pacemakers and defibrillators to intentionally deplete batteries or administer incorrect shocks.
Governments should focus on cyber security in IoT projects. The challenges are varied and complicated, but experts in this field know how to mitigate these risks. The first step to securing IoT systems is to ensure they adhere to data privacy and confidentiality laws. If they are not secure, IoT devices can become part of a botnet or a DDoS attack.
The IoT ecosystem is a shared one, and partners must operate cooperatively and strategically. However, unless the ecosystem is governed by formal standards, the shared responsibility mindset may break down. In the absence of formal standards, security breaches can occur anywhere in the ecosystem, so it is crucial to develop standards globally.
While the Internet of Things offers a number of benefits for governments, it also creates new cybersecurity challenges. With a wider array of connected devices and sensors, there is an increasing risk of data compromise.
While governments are increasingly turning to the cloud, cybersecurity remains a concern. Cloud service providers have the resources to hire dedicated cyber security personnel, which government IT operations simply do not have. Governments still have responsibility to protect the data of their constituents and ensure that their information is secure.
Cloud-based data has economic value, but it can also be a gold mine for authoritarian regimes. They could use this data to track their citizens or manipulate the populations of other countries. This is one of the many reasons why some governments have restricted the export of cloud services or technologies.
Cybersecurity threats can come from insiders, and state and local governments are a prime target. Fortunately, coordinated federal and state efforts are making the challenge of cyber security easier to manage. Federal agencies can take advantage of state and local security standards, such as FedRAMP and StateRAMP, which offer third-party certification of data practices and standards. These programs also provide continuous monitoring to ensure that security standards are being maintained. Governments can also assess their cloud vendors for security and transparency. For example, they must be willing to disclose any potential security breach and maintain risk management policies.
Another important challenge to cloud security is account hijacking. As cloud-based applications and infrastructure become more commonplace, hackers can exploit weak security measures in cloud-based systems to gain access to sensitive data. For example, if a customer’s password is compromised, the attacker can gain complete control of his online account.
As digital innovation continues to push further, the nature of cyber threats will evolve. Internet-connected systems are becoming increasingly popular, including cars, thermostats, healthcare devices, and systems running critical infrastructure. Many Canadians rely on encryption to protect their online communications. However, the advent of quantum computing will compromise the security of conventional encryption. New quantum-resistant encryption will be necessary to prevent this from happening.
As the use of IoT devices increases, the need for cyber security is becoming more important than ever. With more than 80 percent of cyber attacks targeting these devices, it’s important to protect them with adequate security measures. In order to do so, the EU Commission is enforcing stricter cyber security requirements for these devices in the Radio Equipment Directive. These standards cover devices such as smartphones, tablets, baby monitors, electronic cameras, and wearables. The new regulations come into effect on January 12, 2022, and will require manufacturers of IoT devices to implement appropriate security measures.
Cyber-attackers have become increasingly sophisticated and invasive, and they are increasingly capable of compromising the privacy and security of IoT devices. Not only do they have the ability to alter the commands that are sent to the controllers, but they can also manipulate the readings from sensors. These disruptions may be subtle at first, but they can build over time. This means that IoT device manufacturers need to step up their game when it comes to cyber security and continue to release innovations while giving users peace of mind.
The first step in preventing cyber attacks on IoT devices is to educate consumers. This way, they can make the right choices when purchasing the devices they need. Moreover, they can require device manufacturers to build secure devices or refuse to use those that don’t meet high security standards. The latter is particularly beneficial if they want to ensure the security of their devices.
The second step in cyber security for IoT devices is to monitor each and every device. IoT devices need to be constantly monitored for security gaps and suspicious behavior.
Lack of skilled cybersecurity professionals
The global cybersecurity talent shortage is a pressing issue that threatens to leave data and intellectual property at risk. This shortage is a result of a lack of qualified people with the necessary skill sets. The problem is so severe that open cybersecurity positions can remain unfilled for months at a time. The problem is the result of an education gap – there are not enough PhDs and college graduates in the technical field. The solution to the cybersecurity skills shortage is to develop a pipeline of cybersecurity professionals.
A growing number of universities in the United States are adding cybersecurity programs to meet the increasing demand. These efforts are in response to the rising incidence of cyberattacks. While many universities have stepped up their cybersecurity programs in recent years, the United States still lags behind the rest of the world.
To address this problem, government training should target the best cybersecurity professionals. Training is not only important for government workers, but it also helps to make sure that the cybersecurity profession is suited to people with a wide range of skills. The right training program should target people with the highest potential and help them perform well on the job.
Increasing the number of skilled cybersecurity professionals in the financial sector is another key strategy. By developing secondment mechanisms with government agencies that have cybersecurity expertise, financial authorities may attract and retain qualified professionals. These seconded cybersecurity professionals can benefit from the expertise of government agencies and private sector companies. While the need for skilled cybersecurity professionals is a critical issue for governments, it is also an opportunity to improve the public policy climate.
A strong public-private partnership is needed to address this problem. As a result, universities, industry, and governments must work together to develop and implement cybersecurity workforce initiatives to fill these roles.
Attacks by state-sponsored hackers
In recent years, there have been numerous attacks on government systems and infrastructure, and some of these are state-sponsored. These attacks often mimic regular ransomware attacks, but they can be more destructive. While rogue hackers typically focus on monetary gains, state-sponsored hackers aim to compromise sensitive systems for political or intelligence purposes. For example, the Chinese government is suspected of using malware to attack a supply chain of vaccines, and a U.S. government agency was attacked last year. North Korea has also been accused of hacking the electrical grid. That’s why with cases like these, cyber security services for government are absolutely necessary.
State-sponsored hackers may use disinformation campaigns to spread misinformation, causing confusion, and influencing public opinion. However, these attacks are often more dangerous than propaganda, since the aim is not to advance an ideology. State-sponsored disinformation campaigns have killed many people in the United States, and their results are far worse than that of propaganda.
Often, these attacks require the close coordination of multiple government agencies. In one case, hackers gained access to a Florida water treatment facility and caused a toxic chemical imbalance. The situation was eventually corrected without harm to the public, but attacks by state-sponsored hackers are particularly dangerous for the health-care and public infrastructure sectors, because these industries lack the resources to defend themselves.
State-sponsored attacks are increasingly sophisticated. They can involve supply-chain compromises, botnets for DDoS attacks, and more. While state-sponsored attacks are relatively new, they require coordinated response from various government agencies. Most state-sponsored hackers are targeting outdated software, which contains many vulnerabilities. Consequently, the best way to defend against such attacks is to keep up with the latest software releases, and to update the security patches in case of a breach.