Cyber security vital to safety of nation

The vulnerability of this nation to having networks that run vital services disrupted or destroyed is real.

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An appointment recently made by President Obama may have gone unnoticed by many people, but it has the potential to be as critical to our national defense as the military.

Howard A. Schmidt, a computer security executive who worked in the Bush administration and who has strong ties to the corporate world, was named as national cyber security coordinator.

According to an Associated Press article, the U.S. government computer systems are attacked or scanned millions of times a day. Increasingly sophisticated technologies may unlock financial information and put classified material at risk.

The vulnerability of this nation to having networks that run vital services disrupted or destroyed is real. In recent months a high-tech fighter jet and an electrical grid were breached.

Imagine the chaos if all banking records or stock market data were wiped out of existence or if all the Social Security numbers were scrambled. What would happen if air traffic controllers were suddenly shut down with hundreds of planes in the air or if hospitals couldn't access medical records?

It's an annoyance when spam locks up your computer. It's a pain when a virus infects your machine. It's a disaster waiting to happen if we don't put as much effort into protecting our electronic systems from invasion as we put into keeping invaders from our shores.

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