Saturday, July 22, 2017
Billy Long: I will work to confront the challenges of cybersecurity
In a world where security is not simply a matter of physical safety, but also virtual safety, cybersecurity continues to be a topic of discussion in both the news and in Congress. As technology rapidly changes, our approach to cybersecurity and its emerging threats needs to adapt as well. Recently the Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing regarding security in wireless technology. This hearing examined mobile cybersecurity problems while also discussing possible solutions. In the United States alone, 77 percent of the population owns a smartphone and 51 percent own a tablet.
In 2015, people purchased 1.4 billion smartphones, which was a 10 percent increase from the previous year. As smartphone purchases have increased, so have their vulnerabilities to cyber hacks. There are numerous ways hackers can exploit mobile vulnerabilities. Some ways include downloading an app through a third party, opening a suspicious text message or email or having weak passwords. In 2014 there was a 214 percent increase in mobile vulnerabilities, compared to a 32 percent increase in 2013.
As more and more people buy smartphones and store sensitive information on them, such as health records, social security numbers and credit card information, the more likely a hacker will target these vulnerable devices. According to the 2017 Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, in 2016 1.1 billion people had their identities stolen, doubling the number from the previous year.
People are connected now more than ever before, and addressing all these vulnerabilities becomes even more important. The good news is there are techniques than we can do to improve mobile security. Changing passwords regularly, backing up mobile devices, paying closer attention to permission messages and avoiding downloading third-party apps can decrease the likelihood of a hack. In 2015, an analysis of over 10 million apps showed that roughly one third were created for viruses.
Cybersecurity touches on virtually every aspect of American life and our laws and policies have not kept up with technology; we must take critical steps to protect American information and ideas. I will continue to work with my colleagues on legislation that confronts these issues and addresses the most pressing problems from these emerging cyber-related challenges.