In the past, hacks were not considered serious breaches, since it is easy to detect and patch them quickly.
But this could change if the US government has a better understanding of cyber threats and can leverage it to prosecute hackers.
According to the cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab, in October 2018, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a “national security threat assessment” for the internet.
The assessment noted that hackers can compromise information on over 300 million people, including personal details such as passwords, emails, social media accounts, and more.
This means that the government has to assess whether the internet is a target of a cyber attack, or if the attacks are limited to specific networks.
The threat assessment also said that “many countries have active cyber-espionage activities, including the US.”
The report added that “attacks against US businesses, government agencies, and private companies have been reported for several years.”
The assessment also noted that “the US government’s cyber capabilities are not sufficiently focused to prevent a broad-scale compromise of critical infrastructure, and the ability of the US to mitigate cyber-threats is limited.”
In the report, the DHS also said it had “detailed information on the types of vulnerabilities” in US networks.
According the report from Kasperski, the United States had more than 2,000 vulnerabilities on its networks, including “the vulnerabilities that allowed attackers to remotely take control of critical networks such as power plants, air traffic control systems, hospitals, and other critical infrastructure.”
These include “the ability for attackers to exploit network vulnerabilities to compromise systems, compromise remote access credentials, and take control over other systems.”
Kasperskin also said the US is facing a “potentially catastrophic” cyberattack, as hackers are able to “take over the infrastructure of government agencies and other companies, and even state-owned businesses, at will.”
According to Kasperska, the assessment added that this “threat is a threat to all people in the world, regardless of their nationality, religion, race, or ethnic group.”
The cybersecurity company also said this could mean that US citizens could be targeted by cyber-criminals who are not affiliated with a foreign country.
In an article published in the US media in October, security researchers at cybersecurity firm FireEye wrote that they were “encouraged” by the DHS assessment, because “the threat to the US homeland and national security is growing.”
According the researchers, this “may be the tip of the iceberg.”
FireEye said in a statement that they have seen “an increase in ransomware attacks, including some with more sophisticated malware than previously thought.”
Fireeye added that the cyber-attacks have been going on for “years.”
“It is clear that cyberattacks are an ongoing threat, and we see a number of indicators of this: ransomware infections in many organizations, more and more sophisticated ransomware variants that target the US economy and businesses, and a proliferation of sophisticated attack tools in the cyber underworld,” FireEye added.
The US Department has been working on cybersecurity measures to counter these attacks.
According with the department, in March 2018, it created a cyber security task force to focus on the threat.
The task force is currently investigating how to better detect and defend against cyberattacks.
Kaspersk said in October that this task force should focus on preventing a cyberattack and how to prevent the development of new vulnerabilities.
The cyber threat could also be used to justify new surveillance and regulation, which would further undermine privacy and freedoms.
Katella Gorman, a research associate at Kasperskaya Lab, told The Washington Post that the cybersecurity threat was “invisible.”
She said that there are two main ways to think about cyber threats.
The first is that cyber threats are something that can be observed by the intelligence community.
The second is that the threat can be used as justification for the surveillance and surveillance powers of the federal government.
Gorman said that the two approaches are not mutually exclusive.
In addition, cyberattacks can also be an opportunity for companies to improve their systems and processes.
The United States should not let the cybersecurity issue get in the way of those two objectives, Gorman added.
“There are no ‘good guys’ in this game, and if we let the cyber threat get in our way, we will not be able to defend ourselves from the attacks,” she said.
In a blog post, Kaspersko noted that it is important to keep a balance between privacy and security.
“Our goal is to protect our users, and to do that, we have to keep their information secure,” Kaspersker said.
“But, unfortunately, there are many things we can do, that we think are essential for protecting our users’ data, such as encrypting their data, using stronger encryption, or protecting against attacks by hackers and other actors.”