Biden and the growth of cyber-threats
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced new cyber-security-related initiatives in an effort to address the rise of global threats endangering Americans online.
DHS, which has undergone several changes in the course of its transition to a new administration, has only recently installed a new director in Alejandro Mayorkas. The vital agency also faces a growing number of domestic and international threats, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses and schools to make logistical changes that have led to rising numbers in online security breaches.
One change that Mayorkas has recently talked up relates to a slight increase in cyber-security spending through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants. As part of this plan, any state and local government division that applies for and receives a FEMA grant is required to spend at least 7.5% of the money toward improving cyber-security in its locality. Previous rules required the recipients of these grants only to spend a minimum of 5% on cyber-security.
This kind of minor change sends the world the message that President Biden's DHS is failing to prioritize the cyber-security issue. A 2.5-percent increase in spending is a drop in the bucket in comparison to the money that Congress has been throwing around internationally, as well as wasting domestically on the radical left's pet projects. This should inspire immediate backlash from concerned Americans, as on several occasions, state-sponsored terrorist hackers successfully breached the U.S. electric grid, in addition to other vital segments of American industry.
Should a large-scale attack against our power grid occur successfully, the U.S. would immediately revert in many ways to a third-world country. One recent example of the chaos that awaits the U.S. in the event of an attack of that magnitude is a five-day period in 2019 when the socialist nation of Venezuela was faced with a nationwide power outage.
Tens of patients wound up dying in hospitals as many electricity generators, which aren't known to be 100% reliable, unexpectedly failed. The majority of dead were kidney failure patients, who did not receive their regular dialysis treatments, or shooting victims, who, as a result of the power loss, could not be operated on by surgeons safely.
Adding even more complications were the women who went into labor during the period, as there were numerous examples of pregnant women being forces to give birth in the dark, while prematurely born babies fought to live in incubators that were struggling to stay on.
Although we face the potential for catastrophic devastation, the majority of cyber- threats that exist are financially motivated. To better address this, DHS also created the Reduce the Risk of Ransomware Campaign, an initiative that will be managed by the Cyber-security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a sub-division of DHS.
According to the press release from CISA announcing the program, it is "a focused, coordinated and sustained effort to encourage public and private sector organizations to implement best practices, tools and resources that can help them mitigate this cyber-security risk and threat[.]"
Ransomware attacks have spiked and were the most common online threat for 2020, according to corporate investigations and risk analysis firm Kroll, whose cyber-incident response data showed that ransomware was the culprit behind a third of cyber-attacks through September 1, 2020.
Another rising trend in 2021 is hacks targeting Mac users. Mac systems, which many consumers have long thought to be malware- and virus-proof, are now being prioritized as a target by malware authors and the hacking syndicates that distribute those infections.
Just since February, over 30,000 Macs have been attacked by malware, including Silver Sparrow and another bothersome variant that shows users the name of popular apps and utilities alongside an alarming pop-up message that offers to move the program to the trash, although doing so does nothing to solve the computer's performance problems.
DHS has a more complicated job than ever as it attempts to secure America from not only the state-sponsored terrorist hackers, like the ones responsible for the widely reported SolarWinds hack, but also the smaller nuisance outfits that are inflicting economic damages against average citizens and small businesses. For the federal government going forward, cyber-security must be a top priority.
Julio Rivera is a business and political strategist, the editorial director for Reactionary Times, and a political commentator and columnist. His writing, which is focused on cyber-security and politics, has been published by websites including Newsmax, Townhall, American Thinker, and BizPacReview.