Last Friday night the city of Dallas’ emergency warning system was hacked causing all of its 156 emergency sirens to blare throughout the night and into Saturday warning. As could be imagined, there was substantial panic and concern by local residents. This warning siren could also be heard as another loud warning as to the vulnerability of much of our national infrastructure to attacks by hackers with more harmful intentions. Last year there were almost 300 cyberattacks on critical infrastructure including the electrical grid. Due to the Intenet connectiveness of so much of our critical infrastructure including our energy system, transportation systems and even financial services, the country continues to be vulnerable to cyberattacks.
While improvements have been made in essential cybersecurity, much remains to be done as detailed in numerous reports in recent years by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). In particular, companies and governmental agencies should be improving their ability to identify cyberthreats and implement continuing processes for securely configuring computer systems, applications, workstations, servers and network devices. It also is important to patch vulnerable systems and replace unsupported software. Sharing of information between government and business must be an essential element of any cybersecurity programs.