US government faces increasing volume of cyber-threats

The US government is being targeted by more and more cyber-attacks, and indeed one security expert who works with the government has suggested it is effectively embroiled in a constant cyber-war these days.

The threats coming online are even more severe to the country than the threat of domestic terrorism, apparently – and you can see why when hackers can make off with things like plans for advanced weapon systems.

Sky News reports that the AP news agency conducted a review which found that the number of cyber-incidents hitting federal networks has increased from 30,000 to 50,000 since 2009, up two-thirds.

This means that despite the $10 billion (£6.3 billion) which is ploughed into keeping government data secure every year, the government is finding it hard to keep pace with the sheer number of malicious attacks probing its networks.

Although many of the problems, as ever, aren't caused by weak security measures in terms of software and/or hardware, but rather they're the fault of government staff being foolish in one way or another (from visiting malware laden corners of the web, to losing their work phone or tablet and failing to secure the device properly). And it's hard to defend on those fronts – save for educating your employees, and then educating them more...

Related: The ultimate 2014 guide to hacking and cyber terrorism

Phyllis Schneck, deputy under-secretary for cybersecurity, told Sky: "We are all very, very vulnerable. It's a much bigger challenge than anyone could have imagined 20 years ago."

And that challenge is likely only to accelerate, although hopefully the security world will be able to put its foot down as much as the malware peddlers and cyber-espionage operatives.