Cybersecurity: Continued Attention Needed to Protect Our Nation's Critical Infrastructure and Federal Information Systems

GAO-11-463T Published: Mar 16, 2011. Publicly Released: Mar 16, 2011.
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Pervasive and sustained cyber attacks continue to pose a potentially devastating threat to the systems and operations of our nation's critical infrastructure and the federal government. In recent testimony, the Director of National Intelligence stated that there had been a dramatic increase in malicious cyber activity targeting U.S. computers and networks. In addition, recent reports of cyber attacks and incidents affecting federal systems and critical infrastructures illustrate the potential impact of such events on national and economic security. The nation's ever-increasing dependence on information systems to carry out essential everyday operations makes it vulnerable to an array of cyber-based risks. Thus it is increasingly important that federal and nonfederal entities carry out concerted efforts to safeguard their systems and the information they contain. GAO is providing a statement describing (1) cyber threats to cyber-reliant critical infrastructures and federal information systems and (2) the continuing challenges facing federal agencies in protecting the nation's cyber-reliant critical infrastructure and federal systems. In preparing this statement, GAO relied on its previously published work in the area, which included many recommendations for improvements.

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