Editorial: Government, private sector must team up to fight cyberthreats

The house passed a new cybersecurity bill on Thursday, and the accompanying report emphasizes what many corporate and government experts know only too well. “A number of advanced nation-state actors are actively engaged in a series of wide-ranging, aggressive efforts to penetrate American computer systems and networks” and “these efforts are targeted not only at sensitive national security and infrastructure information but are also often aimed at stealing corporate research and development information that forms the very lifeblood of the American economy.” The report called it nothing less than “pillage.”The other day, Michael P. DeCesare, co-president of the security firm McAfee, a subsidiary of Intel, reminded us of the destructive assault last year on the Saudi national oil company Aramco, which wiped out some 30,000 work stations and servers. It was carried out by malware known as “Shamoon,” of unknown origin. Meanwhile, he estimated that one in 10 personal computers is unwittingly roped in to botnets that carry out surreptitious cyberattacks, and he shares the concern, voiced last year by then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, about our vulnerability to a major cyberattack.

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