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As the recent article in the New York Times regarding the increase in cyberattacks on university computer networks illuminated ["Universities Face a Rising Barrage of Cyberattacks," July 16, 2013], the number and type of government and nongovernment organizations subject to such attacks is a constantly increasing challenge for information technology security specialists. As society has become more "connected" and more dependent upon computer networks for day-to-day activities, the vulnerability of ever-larger segments of society to cyber attacks has grown astronomically.
Virtually every kind of business or online activity has become subject to computer attacks. Banks, for example, have become completely computerized operations, increasing -- in general -- the efficiency of routine financial matters, but at the expense of making the entirety of the population far more vulnerable to theft of both money and identity. Hospitals, repositories of our most sensitive personal information, have been the target of intrusions into their computer systems, as have public utilities, credit card companies, and military networks.
The only real answer, consequently, to the question of how organizations have responded to the constant barrage of computer attacks is by stating that it has been an uphill battle with no end in sight. Patches, rerouting of networks and other fixes at best keep pace with attacks and viruses, but it remains a constant back-and-forth process of attack-respond-attack-respond. As long as governments, individuals, and hacker societies remain committed to the science and practice of cyber warfare, the effort at protecting computer networks will remain a part of life.
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