NACo 2017: Cognitive Cyberthreats Can Leave County Networks Vulnerable

Cyberattacks present the greatest threat to American democracy today, according to retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John Allen. In his keynote address at the National Association of Counties 82nd Annual Conference and Exposition in Columbus, Ohio, Allen described the 21st century security environment and how state actors, nonstate actors, transnational criminal networks and global terror entities are proving to be ever more worrisome to U.S. citizens and critical infrastructure. “With the advent of cyberspace, the world has become borderless,” said Allen. And with nearly 1.5 gigabytes of data moving through cyberspace every minute, the stream of information has created great opportunity for citizens and efficiency for governments. “It has also created enormous capacity for those who wish us ill,” Allen said. Pointing to the recent WannaCry cyberattack, which took down hospitals, community colleges and police forces across the globe, as well as the Russian hacking events that penetrated U.S. election networks in 39 states, Allen noted that local governments have an immense responsibility to protect the services and institutions they run. “Where our democracy finds purpose is the electoral system, and it exists and it lives at the county level; an awesome responsibility for you,” said Allen, speaking to the…

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