A few years ago cyberattacks were on the margins of news stories. But after a series of high-profile attacks against major financial institutions, retailers and health-care providers, people realize that cyberattacks aren’t going away.

The need to address increasingly sophisticated threats against U.S. businesses has rapidly gone from an IT issue to a top priority for the C-suite and the boardroom.

Education curriculums, like those at the University of Dallas, are smartly designed to fill business and government’s need for a skilled security workforce. Traditional computer science and engineering degrees are augmented with courses in data protection, legal and compliance, and operational and strategic cybersecurity management.

Cybercrime is among the most urgent threats to U.S. national and economic security, and these threats are increasing in scale, sophistication and frequency. Bad actors from criminals to nation-states use cyberattacks because they are cheap, easy and lucrative.

Here in Dallas, hackers successful executed a ransomware cyberattack on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit authority (DART).

Ransomware attacks are an increasingly popular tactic of cyber criminals. Typically, malicious actors will target an organization, send an email with malicious code embedded in an attachment that when downloaded by an employee encrypts an organizations data. The perpetrators then contact the organization and demand a sum of money to unlock their data.

Victims of ransomware attacks often times find themselves confronted with the difficult decision: pay the ransom, shutting down, or taking systems down until backups can restore normal operations.

Recently released guidance from the FBI does not advocate paying a ransom. It recommends that organizations focus on training employees to spot phishing emails and regularly back up data.

According to a McAfee report, the global impact of ransomware and other cybercrimes tops $375 billion annually, and the estimated cost to U.S. businesses is 200,000 jobs lost annually.

U.S. businesses are responsible for protecting their cyber networks. This includes intellectual property, trade secrets, and the personal information of their employees and customers.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a silver bullet to create a more secure and resilient network. One tool that offers an important first line of defense is timely, actionable cyber threat data.

The Department of Homeland Security manages a voluntary information-sharing initiative. It allows bi-directions sharing of cyber threat data in near real time, enhancing the ability of organizations to block cyber adversaries before intrusions occur.

Under provisions of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015, businesses have the legal protections they need to feel safe when voluntarily sharing or receiving threat data with industry peers and the government.

Yet we’ve still got work to do. In a recent IBM survey of CEOs, only 55 percent of respondents said that information sharing is necessary in fighting cybercrime.

Since its founding, the Internet has fundamentally changed how we connect with others, the nature of our work, and how we discover and share news and new ideas. Industry and government are building a strong foundation to preserve our competitive advantage in the global economy and protect the privacy of American people.

But, one thing is certain—protecting your business is worth the investment.

Presented by Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce & U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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