Internet is now playing a dominating role in the communications sphere. It also acts as a marketing medium and a means of disseminating information. Small and large businesses sell their products and services online; there are many companies which profit is based mostly on e-commerce. Moreover, besides business, Internet has become vital for other areas of activity: science, education, culture, politics etc. At such level of online integration worldwide, the problems of online security are highly important for individuals, organizations and for the countries as well. The questions of internet security are crucial for every country’s well-being and economical prosperity. Therefore, the governments should spend more on internet security and ensure protection for their citizens and juridical people.
In March 2009, hackers have entered the databases of the UK newspaper, “Daily Telegraph”¯. They have placed screenshots of customer information and other private data in the Internet, and have seriously damaged the image of the newspaper. Theoretically, this action did not bring any financial harm, but in practice the customers started to treat the newspaper with caution. The threat of hacking, phishing and losing private data is quite common in the Internet. The financial losses of companies which experienced the attacks “denial of services”¯ and the sites of which were unreachable for hours or even days are counted in millions of dollars. Threats of losing money due to credit card password stealing, phishing and social engineering practices are also impressive. The security of separate companies, especially the large ones which have a direct impact on the nation’s well-being, is crucial for economical stability in our country and worldwide.
Nobody in the Internet can be immune to a breach of security, since the methods of attacking are quickly evolving, and often the distributed attacks, located on many computers in different countries, take place. Virtual criminals improve their methods, and it is necessary to unite efforts in securing private data, financial information and other confidential data.
The question of internet security belongs to the questions of national importance also because internet is the medium connecting the activities of eight key elements of the country’s infrastructure – electric power distribution, telecommunication, banking and finance, water, transportation, oil and gas storage and transportation, emergency services and government services. The potential strategic and economic consequences of cyber attacks are very significant. At the level of corporations, internet security breaches may lead to large financial losses and liabilities, which, in its turn, may become sources of bankruptcy for the victims. At the national level, such attacks, in case they are directed at critical infrastructure, may cause billions of dollars of damage, losses and even deaths.
Although the question of internet security is broadly discussed, the society and government have not totally understood the potential threat of internet attacks. However, this is a question of growing importance, and it needs both increase of financial support, public attention and coordination of work of structures dealing with national security.
Governments are now recognizing the importance of internet security, but the efforts aimed at providing this security are quite uncoordinated. There should be proper financing, and a consolidated program of actions aimed at establishing internet security within the country, and at the level of world community. For establishing order in the sphere of e-communications and online business, the combined efforts of leading world countries are needed, because internet is an interconnected, almost uniform and highly flexible medium; hence, the impact on virtual criminals may only be significant if appropriate measures are taken everywhere.