Threats are always a major topic when discussing cybersecurity. And, that conversation seems to just keep expanding as more and more institutions decide to or have to invest increasingly in cybersystems. Equally as important in the discussion of cybersecurity, however, are the solutions and overall positive steps happening within the field.
How Schools Are Promoting Cyber Security Awareness
Among the organizations to recently experience cybersecurity threats, especially as its reliability in cyber has been forced to grow, are schools. In an Education Week blog post it was reported that schools in Baltimore County, Maryland and Chicago were both hit with cybersecurity challenges. Baltimore County had to shut down classes right before Thanksgiving break due to what officials say was a ransomware attack. In Chicago, a school email system was apparently compromised. While it has not been confirmed that the occurrence was exactly a cybersecurity attack, it does highlight increasing vulnerability. Other school districts such as in Toledo, Ohio have definitely reported ransomware attacks, as have academic companies like Stride. As relayed in the post, experts continue to stress the importance of enhancing awareness around the potential cybersecurity threats can have and implementing plans for how employees should protect from them happening and react when they do unfold.
New Cyber Defences Emerge
While understanding threats is critical, it is also helpful to stay ahead of the game by understanding the beneficial developments that impact the ability of cybersecurity. In a piece for Forbes, Kazuhiro Gomi wrote that research is getting closer to improving machine learning and public-key cryptosystems and the possibilities of indistinguishability obfuscation (iO). In a research paper titled “Chosen Ciphertext Security from Injective Trapdoor Functions,” the potential of blocking active and interactive attackers from accessing public-key cryptosystems is proposed. This is significant because it relates to better protecting internet data privacy. Although iO is still just a concept, the work on it hints at the possibility of eventually having software with “black-box capability,” meaning that it would be completely unavailable to attackers.
Cyber Defense is Key Priority For Incoming Administration
In addition to promising research, cybersecurity is also taking a prominent role in the incoming Biden administration. In their transition, the new administration has already taken a proactive approach to handling cybersecurity including placing cybersecurity professionals in key roles. An article from Government Technology suggests that this could lead to an evolved perspective on cybersecurity as a tool for protection of course, but also, proactive practices such as diplomacy. Dan Stroman, of cloud services provider CloudCheckr, told the reporter that this importance placed on cybersecurity is also likely to establish a significant growth in the industry. The article relays that the prioritization has the potential to create a trickledown effect in which that importance is also placed at more localized levels.
“COVID-19 and Cybersecurity: ‘Catastrophic Attack on Our Technology Systems’” – Mark Lieberman, Education Week
- School systems such as in Baltimore County, MD have recently experienced cybersecurity threats including ransomware attacks.
- In addition to academic institutions, education companies like Stride have also experienced cybersecurity attacks.
- As schools are having to increasingly rely on cybersystems, it is important to grow awareness around the potential of cyber threats as well as how to prevent and handle them.
“Start Spreading The (Good) News About Cybersecurity” – Kazuhiro Gomi, Forbes
- Researchers are getting closer to understanding cybersecurity developments such as greater protection for public-key cryptosystems and indistinguishability obfuscation (iO).
- Research papers suggest the ability to create a “trapdoor function” for public-key cryptosystems which would protect from active or interactive attackers.
- If ever fully developed, iO software would form what are called “black boxes” which would be inaccessible to attackers.
“How Biden Could Change the Conversation on Cybersecurity” – Lucas Ropek, Government Technology
- The incoming Biden administration seems to have placed a focus on cybersecurity including the selection of prominent cybersecurity professionals.
- Biden chose Alejandro Mayorkas to lead DHS and Avril Haines as director of national intelligence. Both picks have extensive experience in cybersecurity.
- This investment in cybersecurity has the potential to lead to a growth in perspective on how cybersecurity can be applied and a trickle-down effect to more localized government as well as an overall growth in the cybersecurity field.