Is the Government Headed Towards a Separate Internet?

Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Business Technology, Legal Matters for Business, Security Systems [ 4 Comments ]

Amid a variety of attacks in recent months on different U.S.-based Internet sites, questions have abound about just how secure the ‘Net really is.

According to former CIA director Michael Hayden, who worked under President G.W. Bush, the U.S. may require an entire new piece of Internet infrastructure.

Reports indicate a number of  high-level individuals in Washington, D.C. are considering the idea of forming a “secure” domain where Fourth Amendment rights to privacy are voluntarily waived to stay clear of cyber criminals.

Now before anyone worries that the U.S. will become the next China, the goal here is simply to create a domain where cyber criminals are locked out and thwarted from obtaining sensitive information. In 2010, Chinese officials closed down some 1.3 million Web sites, adding to complaints from civil rights backers who say government officials impose controls that are too strict.

While such controls are not coming to the U.S. some government officials want to see a separate Internet where things like financial institutions, sensitive infrastructure, and other government-run sites are protected from hackers.

For those individuals who want to roam this proposed Internet, they would have to provide proper documentation of who they are, hence no proper credentials equals no admittance. The present Internet that we all know would remain unchanged.

The Obama administration and lawmakers have been working on instituting new cyber security legislation to improve federal oversight of commercial and civilian government networks.

Numbers Show Impact of Data Breaches

As the numbers indicate, a data breach can not only be embarrassing, but also costly.

According to a recent survey from NetDiligence of some 80 data breaches, the average expense for a data breach was around $2.4 million.

Personally identifiable information proves the most frequent target in data breaches, accounting for 37 percent of surveyed claims, with personal health data next, having been exposed in 21 percent of the cases.

As for who is responsible for the breaches, hackers lead the way at 32 percent, followed by rogue employees or contractors at 19 percent.

The sector most often targeted has been health care at 24 percent, followed by financial services with 22 percent of the claims.

In order to mount a legal defense, companies are looking at an average expense of $500,000, with the average cost of settlement being $1 million. The average expense of different crisis-related services tied to handling the data breach was $800,000 per event.

Is Your Business Safe from Hackers?

While many businesses are not dealing in the sensitive security details of the government, they too have concerns about certain pieces of information getting out and keeping their companies secure.

As hackers become more sophisticated in their means to cause havoc, businesses need to step up their defenses. Among the typical methods of hacking to look out for is password cracking, exploiting security, viruses and worms.

Given that hackers are on the prowl, what can your business do to lessen the chances of being hit?

  • Improving your infrastructure management – This can assist in stopping hacking opportunities, along with decreasing the chances your company’s confidential files and data will be compromised;
  • Outsource or maintain an IT department – Having pros to maintain your computer network allows you to focus on other items;
  • Install company policies on computer usage – Have a clearly stated policy regarding employee usage of company laptops outside of work, opening personal emails and attachments at work, etc.;
  • Acquire a business-class router – This will protect the company’s Internet connection, a firewall is key here too;
  • Backup important files – Whether on purpose or accidentally, computer files can be hacked or lost. By creating duplicates and storing them in a safe or offsite location, you lessen the chances of a major loss.

As the government reviews its options to make sensitive data more secure, this is a good time for your business to do the same.

With a little time and effort in making sure your company info is safe and secure, you can focus on other things…. like making more revenue.

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4 thoughts on “Is the Government Headed Towards a Separate Internet?

  1. Pingback: Fixing The Internet May Mean Building A New One – Huffington Post « My Blog

  2. avatarStephen @ Priori Legal

    You know, I think this is a very, very important topic for discussion nowadays. In fact, this is one of the reasons why I believe that law is ripe for online innovation. First off, I like to view the growing online world almost like the vast wild west of the past. Things are changing and evolving so fast that it is pretty much impossible to gain any real measure of control. You try and shut a group down that works through the internet, and they can literally create a whole new way to operate. Sure, there is always that risk of cyber attack, but I would much rather face that risk then work on a domain where rights are waived.

  3. avatarErica Bell

    Hi Stephen,

    Thanks for reading. You’re right – often times shutting down a group that operates online often leads to them creating new methods of communication and operation.

    – Erica

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