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Report: Republicans, Democrats both view cybersecurity in similar light

The Republican and Democrats are both concerned regarding the current state of cybersecurity.
The Republican and Democrats are both concerned regarding the current state of cybersecurity.

Although Republicans and Democrats disagree on many aspects of the current state of the United States, both parties appear to share the same views regarding the increasingly important cybersecurity landscape.

According to a recent Bloomberg Businessweek report, Republicans' proposal to protect U.S. networks from hackers is similar to the security policy recommended by the Obama administration. The report said that cyber defenses must be implemented to protect American infrastructure, including water systems and power grids.

Cybersecurity researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies told Bloomberg that although the Republicans' recommendations are slightly more in favor of the use of greater defenses, it still has some of the same aspects issued by the Obama administration in May.

"There's a lot of overlap with other legislation and some with the administration’s proposal," Lewis told Bloomberg in an email. "It gives everybody involved a solid basis to work from."

Bloomberg's Eric Engleman said government officials have become concerned regarding the current state of cybersecurity, especially in regards to hacker groups, including Anonymous. The so-called hacktivist group has attacked MasterCard and Visa websites and continues to post threatening videos through YouTube. Most recently, Anonymous posted a video that revealed it vows to support the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Representative William Thornberry, a Republican from Texas who is also a White House task force leader, believes swift action must take place to protect the country's data.

"Every single day intellectual property, whether it's blueprints or formulas or business plans, are stolen from businesses in the United States of all sizes," Thornberry said at a news conference yesterday, Bloomberg reported. "We need to take action for our national security but also for our economic security."

Thornberry also said the government needs to simplify the requirements for organizations to report data breaches. According to the news provider, policies also must allow companies to update their information-security standards more easily and help increase the recruitment of proper cybersecurity employees.

The White House's policy believes the Homeland Security Department should help companies improve their cybersecurity defenses. According to Bloomberg, Republicans envision a plan that involves industry standards that are voluntary and incentive-based with minimal federal involvement.

According to Bloomberg, White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the Obama administration is committed to protecting the United States from cybersecurity threats and it looks forward to working with Republicans to deal with this issue.

As more government websites face scrutiny regarding their web security, companies of all sizes and particular industries appear susceptible to hackers. Despite this growing concern, a majority of organizations indicated their defenses against cyber attacks are lacking.

According to a recent study of approximately 1,200 respondents by Newtek Business Services' Small Business Authority, 73 percent said they have not tested their websites for cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Of those surveyed, 39 percent indicated their business data is not backed up in more than one location, while 35 percent revealed they have not been able to access their business during a natural disaster.

"With recent breaches of security at Citi Bank, Sony and The Pentagon, small business owners should be concerned and take precaution to ensure their confidential business information is protected," said Small Business Authority president and CEO Barry Sloane. "Our survey demonstrates that very few business owners have taken a necessary precaution of having a professional data security firm perform a current assessment of vulnerabilities on their commercial website or database applications."

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