National governments becoming more aware of cyber threats

A global battle against malware and cyber crime is underway, as governments and researchers look for new methods to defend infrastructure against increasingly organized cyber criminals.
The threat of cyber-based attacks on US infrastructure is so serious that President Obama is expected to finally unveil his executive order on cyber security sometime after his State of the Union address.  
The State of the Union address will take place on Tuesday, February 12 – the order follows on high-profile attacks against the New York Times, other major newspaper outlets, and the US Federal Reserve website.  It appears the attacks originated from China.
Nations that are more proactive in their effort to utilize better cyber security saw the most benefits, with citizens suffering less malware infections, according to research published by Microsoft.  For example, countries that signed the 2001 Council of Europe Cybercrime treaty – or Voluntary Codes of Conduct – had the lowest malware rates, following advice how to keep PCs and servers secure.
“While membership in CoE or LAP alone will not reduce cyber risk, there are steps countries often take to prepare for membership that significantly help to reduce risk,” noted Microsoft in a blog post.  “These steps include having a common policy environment for cybercrime and establishing methods of international cooperation that can evolve with the changing threat landscape. In addition to such policies, countries with the lowest cyber risks had on average more personal computers in use per capita, higher health expenditure per capita, regime stability, and greater broadband penetration. Out of all the highest performing countries, 43 percent were located in Western Europe.”
After years of steady neglect, the US government is investing more time and resources into defending against cyber attacks – from better malware defense to shutting out foreign-based cyber criminals – drastic changes are slowly being rolled out.
Cyber defense isn’t just a US effort, as the European Commission recently released a study, titled ‘An Open, Safe and Secure Cyberspace,’ which focuses on prevention and disaster response to cyber attacks.  To counter these attacks, proper regulation and government transparency are required, as governments and businesses were unsure what steps to take if there was a high-level security breach.    
This is a global effort that requires work from governments, security companies, and better educated end-users aware of the growing complexity of security threats.

Sources: Microsoft, Public Service Europe

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