BI’s Article search uses Boolean search capabilities. If you are not familiar with these principles, here are some quick tips.

To search specifically for more than one word, put the search term in quotation marks. For example, “workers compensation”. This will limit your search to that combination of words.

To search for a combination of terms, use quotations and the & symbol. For example, “hurricane” & “loss”.

Login Register Subscribe

COMMENTARY: Cyber attack a very real threat to country's security


A specter is haunting Washington and it's not the Ghost of Elections Future.

We can be thankful for that. In a city consumed by political calculation, some serious people—and some serious people do remain in the capital even as November approaches—are sounding the alarm about a very real threat to the country's security.

That's the threat of a massive cyber attack.

Only three months ago, FBI Director Robert Mueller warned that while terrorism is still the FBI's top priority, “in the not-too-distant future, we anticipate that the cyber threat will pose the No. 1 threat to our country.”

That warning echoed during an event held last month in Washington by The Week magazine and Zurich Insurance Co. Ltd. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee—Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich.—said cyber attack is “probably the single largest threat” the country faces.

So what's to be done? Rep. Rogers has sponsored a bill that would encourage public/private collaboration on cyber security. He said that while “we're good at protecting government cyber assets,” the government needs to partner with the private sector by sharing classified cyber threat information with approved U.S. companies and enhancing cyber threat information sharing.

Rep. Rogers' bill—the Cyber Information Sharing & Protection Act—passed the House in April, but the Senate has taken no action. Further complicating matters is the White House threat to veto the measure in its present form over, among other things, privacy concerns.

It's hard to argue with Rep. Rogers' call for enhanced information sharing between the public and private sectors regarding cyber security. While it's reassuring to hear Rep. Rogers say the government's good at protecting its cyber assets, one must remember that those public-sector assets are integrated with private-sector ones, like the information technology systems of the power grid.

Think about a massive cyber attack on the power grid for a moment. We saw what happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when the power went off for quite a while in New Orleans, surrounding areas and neighboring states. It wasn't pretty.

Now, imagine the same thing happening today, but blacking out the entire East Coast for weeks. It would be “Road Warrior” time.

Information sharing—including the sharing of some classified information, provided adequate steps have been taken to prevent the unauthorized dissemination of the information—between the government and private sector is critical.

There's no guarantee that doing so would render all attacks harmless. But provided that the sharing is done right, it could provide another line of defense against a threat that grows more likely by the day.