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February 15, 2013

Huge Number of Americans Concerned About Cyber-Security

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

President Obama is not the only one who is concerned about cyber security, nor are those showing concern limited to the business, military and political sectors. Some 92 percent of Americans believe public utilities (such as water and electricity) are vulnerable to malware attacks, according to a new survey from Tenable Network Security.

Additionally, more than 90 percent of those responding also believe that both U.S. businesses and the government are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. And, some 94 percent want the President to have the same authority to respond to cyber-attacks as he does with physical attacks.

Those surveyed were most concerned about cyber threats to utilities. Communications (such as Internet and telephone) come in second. In total some 1,021 adults took the survey who were described as members of the general public.

In his review of the new survey, Allan Friedman, a cyber security specialist at the Brookings Institution, complained the survey was “vague," Mashable reported. "If their goal was to inform policy makers on how to deal with the issues in front of them, they could have done a much better job,” he added in the Mashable report.

Meanwhile, this week Obama released an executive order on cyber-security. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) was reintroduced in Congress this week, as well.

There was a mixed reaction to the cyber-security plan from Obama – with many officials saying it doesn’t go far enough, some supporting it, and others wondering if it’s needed at all, TechZone360 reported. The executive order protects computer networks of critical U.S. industries through voluntary standards. Obama also wants to see Congress approve additional steps to increase cyber-security for the power grid, financial institutions and air traffic control system – even though last year legislators failed to approve a far-reaching proposal. As part of the executive order, U.S. defense and intelligence agencies will share classified threat information with businesses in sensitive sectors.

In addition, last year Obama signed a limited “secret directive” to prevent cyber-attacks on computer networks, TechZone360 said. It lists standard procedures for government agencies, including the military, to combat cyber threats.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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