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Monday, 29th December 2014

Cybersecurity Issues and Challenges: In Brief

Source: Congressional Research Service via Federation of American Scientists

From Summary:

The act of protecting ICT systems and their contents has come to be known as cybersecurity. A broad and arguably somewhat fuzzy concept, cybersecurity can be a useful term but tends to defy precise definition. It is also sometimes inappropriately conflated with other concepts such as privacy, information sharing, intelligence gathering, and surveillance. However, cybersecurity can be an important tool in protecting privacy and preventing unauthorized surveillance, and information sharing and intelligence gathering can be useful tools for effecting cybersecurity.

The management of risk to information systems is considered fundamental to effective cybersecurity. The risks associated with any attack depend on three factors: threats (who is attacking), vulnerabilities (how they are attacking), and impacts (what the attack does). Most cyberattacks have limited impacts, but a successful attack on some components of critical infrastructure (CI)—most of which is held by the private sector—could have significant effects on national security, the economy, and the livelihood and safety of individual citizens. Reducing such risks usually involves removing threat sources, addressing vulnerabilities, and lessening impacts.

The federal role in cybersecurity involves both securing federal systems and assisting in protecting nonfederal systems. Under current law, all federal agencies have cybersecurity responsibilities relating to their own systems, and many have sector-specific responsibilities for CI. On average, federal agencies spend more than 10% of their annual ICT budgets on cybersecurity.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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