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DHS official: Agencies must make high-risk cyber threats top priority




DHS official: Agencies must make high-risk cyber threats top priority
DHS official: Agencies must make high-risk cyber threats top priority



http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20090825_7424.php 

By Jill R. Aitoro 
Nextgov.com
08/25/2009

Federal agencies should prioritize their information security 
requirements to ensure mission-critical operations are protected first, 
and delineate between "that which is aggravating and that which is truly 
dangerous," the Homeland Security Department's cyber chief Greg Schaffer 
said during a conference on Tuesday.

Cyberattacks are growing far more sophisticated, in part because they're 
more difficult to detect, said Schaffer, who was appointed assistant 
secretary of DHS' Office of Cybersecurity and Communications in June. 
Schaffer and Dave DeWalt, chief executive officer of security vendor 
McAfee, spoke Tuesday morning at the GFirst conference in Atlanta hosted 
by the department's U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team.

"The more sophisticated attacks ...are low and slow, designed to not 
draw attention, but insidiously get at data and resources," Schaffer 
said "Yet at the same time, the level of noise from less sophisticated 
attacks continues to grow. This makes for an environment where it is 
easy to focus on the wrong pieces of the puzzle while bad things happen 
under the radar. We need to be vigilant and focused."

According to security vendor McAfee, there was a 500 percent increase in 
2008 in the number of malware attacks that used hostile code to 
infiltrate or damage a computer system -- equal to the combined total 
for the five years prior, DeWalt said. In 80 percent of all malware 
attacks, the motive is financial, with attackers trying to steal 
identities and data for profit. The other 20 percent of attacks are 
prompted by "religious reasons," such as political espionage or 
terrorism.

[...]


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