National Cyber Security Awareness Month: A Rise in the Cyber Threat

The National Department of Homeland Security is currently sponsoring October 2010 as the 7th annual cyber security awareness month.  According to recent IBM data, “The average company’s computer infrastructure is attacked nearly 60,000 times every day.” These staggering numbers continue to rise, year by year, with no sign that the threat is going to slow. “According to IBM X-Force research, new computer vulnerabilities increased by 36 percent in the first half of 2010”.

The rapid innovation in technology has given way to massive amounts of data being stored and transferred online. With the pace of innovation, cyber security has been able to find windows of vulnerability to attack corporations, government agencies and individuals. In a recent video, IBM security manager Steve Robinson explains the growing phenomenon of cyber threats. He discusses the several strategies hackers employ such as cyber warfare, data breaches and precise targeted attacks.

Cyber security criminals can attack multi-faceted functions of society and impact the infrastructure of corporations and government institutions. Steve Robinson delineates the four types of Cyber threats as follows, and provides the following information about the targets of these threats:


Sophisticated Government Attackers: Target confidential information with an objective of disrupting the stability of a an institution (Public or Private sector).

Homegrown Computer Criminals: Goals are monetary: Usually target individuals, try to steal personal information, credit cards, identities. Turn around and sell stolen information to highest bidder.

International Criminal Groups: Large anonymous organizations send out massive spam, malware, phishing, and scam attacks with the hope of making a profit.

Less Sophisticated Attacker Networks: Use hacking tool kits that are available online.


The video presented by IBM, as well as the Institute for Advanced Security website offer more information about the proliferation, effects and preventative measures being employed. Within a nation that is crumbled by debt and deficit it is interesting to look at Cyber Security from a monetary standpoint and wonder, how much money is spent annually fighting off the cowardice cyber criminals of the world?

Feel free to share any estimates you have found, and I will be sure to get back to you with my own.


Ben Zvaifler

About Ben Zvaifler

Ben Zvaifler is the Director of Training and Business Development at GSMI. In his current position Ben manages the expansion and execution of the GSMI training division. Ben's responsibilities include research, program development and sales for both in-house and public training courses across GSMI’s portfolio. Courses currently in development include quality assurance and compliance, social media strategy and policy management, and performance management topics. Additional responsibilities include curriculum development, strategic partnerships, content management, blogging and business development.
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