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ACM Opinion

­.s. Senators: No Time to Lose on Strengthening Cybersecurity

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Every day, rival nations, criminal syndicates and maybe even terrorists probe for weaknesses in the United States' most critical computer networks, seeking to steal data, money, and identities. Even more dangerous is their potential to plant malicious code in industrial control systems that would allow them to seize control of a region's electric grid, crash stock markets, or contaminate water supply with the touch of a key from a world away.

The system is blinking red. Yet, we are failing to connect the dots — again.

In a letter last year to Senate leadership, former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Defense Secretary William Perry, along with six of the nation's premier security experts, issued a stark warning: "[The] constant barrage of cyber assaults has inflicted severe damage to our national and economic security, as well as to the privacy of individual citizens. The threat is only going to get worse. Inaction is not an acceptable option."

It is time to take action.

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