Filly Intelligence, a comprehensive security and intelligence firm, suggests that America is not taking sufficient action in response to the grave threat cyber presents towards our nation. Despite increasing awareness of the associated risks in cyber and digital systems, broad swaths of the economy and individual actors, ranging from consumers to large commercial businesses, still do not take advantage of available expertise, processes, and technology to secure their systems, nor are the protective measures evolving as quickly as the threats. This general lack of investment puts firms and consumers at greater risk, leading to economic loss at the individual and aggregate level and poses a threat to U.S. national security. The threats are growing at network speeds and the traditional static line of cyber defenses are no longer adequate to prevent against the capabilities of malicious actors.
There is an unrecognized danger to commercial industries not achieving sufficient security programs. The danger that exists in the constant trend of the ongoing series of low-to-moderate level cyber-attacks is that they cumulatively impose costs on U.S. economic competitiveness and national security. Many of the constant trickle attacks are targeting proprietary intellectual property, business plans, and technologies (manufacturing, supply chain, etc) that form the competitive foundation of many American companies.
There are potentially long-term devastating consequences from the cyber threat faced by industry today. This trend of cyber-crime damages U.S. trade, competitiveness, innovation, and overall global economics. We expect U.S. industry executives to continue to more aggressively compete for businesses in international markets and increase capital expenditures in the global economic environment.
The current trend of low grade cyber theft of IP, information, and competitive data from U.S. commercial businesses can create a theoretical “tax on innovation,” which could seriously erode the incentive for American companies to engage in research and development.
U.S. small businesses are clearly under attack, not only for their information and technology, but also to use them as vectors for hedging attacks into other partner systems. Last year nearly half of the cyber attacks globally (43%), were against small businesses employing less than 250 workers. (Symantec report) These cyber criminals are conducting theft through small business, they will rob a bank account via issuing fraudulent wire transfers by emailing the bank and posing as the account owner whose credentials they have also breached. Let’s face it–cyber crime is a big payer these days, it’s now profitable to steal customers’ personal identity information, file for fraudulent tax refunds, commit health insurance or Medicare fraud, and even steal intellectual property.