Are American Companies Ignoring Significant Cyber Threats? Joel Brenner Answers Your Questions

BY News Desk  August 8, 2012 at 7:39 PM EDT

The internet was never designed to be a secure means of communication, yet it’s become the backbone of the U.S. economy. Hundreds of millions of dollars are drained from corporate accounts, and technology designs are pilfered every year by criminal hackers and nation states. Key systems that all Americans rely on, from the electrical grid to the major transit systems, are all vulnerable to varying degree.

Last week Congress failed to reach an agreement on how to beef up cyber security. On Monday the NewsHour solicited your questions on this topic to ask Joel Brenner, the author of “America the Vulnerable: Inside the New Threat Matrix of Digital Espionage, Crime, and Warfare,” who spoke with Margaret Warner on Wednesday.

Kathryn Creedy of Melbourne, Fla., asked: “Most companies are ignoring the significant threat of cyber attacks or at least have it on the back burner owing to costs. They are hoping the government will pick up the tab. I found this shocking since it is their fiduciary responsibility to protect the stakeholders of any organization — employees, customers, shareholders…. What, if anything, are corporations doing to protect against cyber attacks? I’d also like to know what the [government] is doing.”

Brenner told the NewsHour that many companies don’t do enough to secure their computer networks until it’s too late. Watch his full response:





Warren Miller of Alpine, California, asked: “How likely and soon is it that super computer viruses will bring down the internet as we know it today?”





You can watch the full PBS NewsHour interview between Joel Brenner and Margaret Warner later this evening.