Better reporting needed to curb cyber attacks

Friday - 7/20/2012, 3:59pm EDT

National security officials say American companies need to report cyber attacks in order to help better protect the nation's networks.

The Bipartisan Policy Center reports that more than 50,000 cyber attacks against public and private networks are reported to the Department of Homeland Security in a year — just a fraction of the total number of attacks.

Many companies do not want to admit they've been the victim of cyber attacks because they fear the stigma and potentially a loss of business, according to the report.

But cyber attacks bring the risk of financial losses due to theft of intellectual property and personal information. Theft of state secrets could also damage national security.

In the report, the center's Cybersecurity Task Force urges Congress to pass a law that would permit companies to share threat information with the government but not compromise privacy or civil liberties.

The U.S. Senate is expected to take up a cyber security bill next week that would create a public-private partnership to set cybersecurity standards for critical American infrastructure. The compromise bill would offer incentives to businesses that meet those standards.

The report found that sharing threat information among businesses and the government would speed up detection of threats and would allow for a coordinated response to any cyber attack.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily Cybersecurity Update. For more cybersecurity news, click here.