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White House acknowledges growing cyberattack threat

Everyone needs to be worried about cyberattacks these days. An estimated half a billion identities were exposed by data breaches in 2015 alone. Even the terrorist group ISIS has begun attacking people digitally.

The Islamic State Hacking Division released hundreds of U.S. soldiers' private records last year that included names, addresses, phone numbers and passwords. The group asked followers to attack the people on the list. I am going to tell you how the U.S. government plans to deal with these types of threats.

Millions of cyberattacks take place around the globe every day. Cybercriminals use a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack to disable major online services by overwhelming servers with much more traffic than they're able to direct. Governments, thieves and third-party hacking groups are constantly chipping away at each others' computer hard drives and servers in search of valuable information.

The White House announced this week the approval of a Presidential Policy Directive on U.S. Cyber Incident Coordination. The PPD details how the Federal government will coordinate if a large-scale cyberattack were to happen. Officials will follow the guidelines of the PPD and share resources and responsibilities to battle attacks.

In the event of an attack, the directive puts the FBI formally in charge of the investigation. The Department of Homeland Security will try and keep damage to a minimum and patch vulnerabilities as a result of an attack.

A new Cyber Incident Severity Schema will be used to categorize the seriousness of the threat.

There are six different threat levels starting with zero (white), which is an unsubstantiated event. Going all the way to a level five emergency (black), which is an imminent threat to the provision of wide-scale critical infrastructure services, national government stability, or to the lives of U.S. persons.

dhs chart

The chart is reminiscent of the color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System that was put in place after 9/11. It's been some time since we've heard anything about the government's plans to confront the threat of cybersecurity. Last November, reports began coming out that a list of 150 ideas had been compiled. Click here to see what else was discussed as an option to prevent these threats.

If you want to read the entire Presidential Policy Directive you can check it out at whitehouse.gov.

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