Cybercrime is a very prevalent security threat affecting 1 in 10 americans each year. It has become lucrative for criminals, netting 450 Billion dollars in attacks in 2016 alone. To put that into perspective, that is more than the GDP of Ireland, Finland, Denmark and Portugal. Cybercrime can affect assets as high up as our national security, banks and stock markets to name a few. According to Cyber Security expert Caleb Barlow, 100,000 Americans got their health insurance data stolen by Cyber Thieves. The scariest aspect is that it took 2 months for anyone to even notice. More and more accounts of cyber fraud happen everyday and our affecting our everyday lives. We need to take a bigger precaution when it comes to cyber security and educate the citizens of the U.S to prevent these attacks.
The government has put in precautions to prevent these attacks against their own data, but hasn’t taken the time to protect the citizens assets. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, also known as The CFAA was a bill passed in 1986 meant to protect us from cyber crime. Back in 1986, the computers were slow and incapable of the damage today. The reason for this act was solely to prevent hackers from breaking into the banking system or the nuclear control system, like in the 1983 thriller War Games. Now that this advanced technology is the hands of almost every American citizen, The bill in rendered almost useless. The FBI has instituted a Cyber Crime task force as of 2002, but has served to be little to no help when it comes to preventing attacks. They need to institute more people into the taskforce and prevent people from stealing what is rightfully ours. With Cyber Crime skyrocketing in the past few years, the government needs to reform this terribly outdated bill. I would like to see a decreased number of Cyber Thefts in the near future and a restructuring of the CFAA. I would also like to see a bigger presence from the FBI Cyber Crime team in protecting our assets.
We as american citizens have to educate ourselves and others about Cyber Crime and prevent the hackers from winning. An attack known as Ransomware is affecting our hospitals, school districts, state and local governments, law enforcement agencies and businesses all around. Hackers will lock our personal and corporate files and demand money for these accounts. The money transfers typically involve bitcoin, an untraceable form of internet currency. The ransom can cost anywhere from a hundred dollars or up to thousands of dollars. Attacks like these are hurting everyday people and we as a community have to stop allowing these attacks to happen and educate ourselves and others about Cyber Crime. To prevent theft from happening across your devices, It can be as easy as encrypting your files and messages. According to the FBI, when you encrypt your files it makes it nearly impossible to intercept and steal information. It works so that the message or file is a jumble of code until it reaches the intended users device. It is also as facile as making long numeric passwords with little personal meaning or don’t use the same password for all your accounts. In totality, I think that it is very important for us as American Citizens to socially reform and educate ourselves on Cyber Crime and ways to prevent it.
Overall, I think we need to make both Political and Social Reforms to combat against Cybercrime. We have to pressure our government to reform the CFAA and institute a more efficient bill to pass. We also need to educate ourselves to learn about Cybercrime and how to prevent it. I hope that this reform will cut back of internet theft and save us money, time and the headache of getting hacked. I believe that we can come together as a community and fix this growing problem before it gets out of hand.