Two members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday said their computer systems were broken into, the latest in a series of cybersecurity alarms raised by the government.
Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf said four of his computers were compromised, beginning in 2006. New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith, a senior Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said two of his computers were attacked, in December 2006 and March 2007.
The Pentagon last month acknowledged that its vast computer network is continuously being scanned or attacked by outsiders. The Air Force in a recruitment ad says the Pentagon is attacked more than 3 million times each day.
As has been well documented by McAfee and by others, cyberattacks are on the rise and are increasingly nefarious. Several years ago hackers defaced Web sites and created fast-spreading worms for glory and notoriety. Today hackers, either part of organized crime rings or backed by governments, hack to steal valuable information and make money.
Government systems have been an increasing target. The number of federal government related cyberincidents reported to the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) more than doubled to 12,986 in the government’s 2007 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. That compares to 5,143 in fiscal 2006.
Computer systems all over the world are under a growing assault from hackers, cyberterrorists and foreign spies looking to steal secrets and disrupt operations. We highlighted the threat of cyberespionage in particular in our Virtual Criminology report late last year.
We applaud the government for being open and upfront about these attacks and taking important steps toward strengthening the protection of its systems. It has been clear to us for a long time that more needs to be done, we’re happy to see the government agrees.