October is National Cybersecurity Month with good reason.
Over the past few years, cybersecurity threats have continued to escalate. No longer just the domain of isolated hackers, large-scale cybersecurity attacks can be perpetrated by domestic criminal and hostile international agents alike. Just last week, a widespread distributed denial of service attack disrupted major websites across the nation.
To fight this, individuals, businesses and government must join forces to identify new vulnerabilities and improve our cyberdefenses. The Department of Homeland Security notes that
“Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. We each have to do our part to keep the Internet safe. When we all take simple steps to be safer online, it makes using the Internet a more secure experience for everyone.”
For its part, Homeland Security leads the federal government’s engagement in “Stop. Think. Connect.” – a global online safety awareness campaign to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online. The initiative was created by an unprecedented coalition of private companies, nonprofits and government organizations, with Intuit as a founding member.
We must start by increasing public awareness. Nearly three out of four Americans still believe that their IDs and passwords provide enough security. In fact, cybercriminals have found new ways to discover, steal or guess simple passwords, which can render them all but obsolete in many instances. Individuals, businesses, and governments alike need to review and adapt their approaches to security as such threats increase, and we can all do our part to innovate and educate when it comes to cybersecurity.
At Intuit, we have introduced new and enhanced security enhancements to our consumer and professional tax software products over the past few years to continue fighting fraud and protecting taxpayer information. We also perform internal risk assessments and conduct external security audits to help identify new threats and further strengthen security in our products and services.
In addition, we help educate our customers about cybersecurity threats and work with them to improve the security of their information.
We also support putting more cybersecurity resources in the hands of small businesses and their advisors through initiatives such as the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Technology Coalition. This group is a partnership between the SBA and more than 20 leading technology companies to provide technology resources to small businesses. With October’s focus on cybersecurity, the SBTC member companies are sharing a variety of informational resources that small businesses can use to protect themselves against cyberattacks.
At the federal level, we support the programs put forth in H.R. 5064, the Improving Small Business Cyber Security Act of 2016, which recently passed the House of Representatives. This legislation would authorize the nation’s Small Business Development Centers to develop and provide cybersecurity consulting services to small businesses that lack the knowledge and resources to develop effective online security for themselves and their customers and help shield them from cyberattacks.
Like so many Americans, it is our belief – and hope – that policy matters such as cybersecurity have strong bipartisan support. Public policy should allow for technology and cybersecurity innovators to continually employ new, advanced solutions to defend against the ever-changing landscape of cyberattacks.
Americans – government, business and individual alike – must all come together to stave off cybercriminals. Encouraging individuals to protect their login credentials, developing advanced forms of online identification, and introducing public-private partnerships such as those with the Small Business Technology Coalition or the Small Business Development Centers, are an important step.