Ralph Hightower (12/16/2013)
Pick on South Carolina. The South Carolina Department of Revenue didn't encrypt the Social Security Numbers of taxpayers who filed electronic tax returns. Whoops! Now hackers have 6 million Social Security Numbers when they hacked into the computer systems.
You could substitute pretty much anything for "South Carolina" and "South Carolina Department of Revenue".
I am not knowledgeable enough to consider myself a cracker (true term for what the media calls hacker, all of us are hackers), but even I can break into a huge percentage of systems. Take anyone with minimal skills, or anyone willing to download automated tools, and the vast majority of systems are at risk.
As I see it, there are at least a couple viewpoints we need to have.
1) We all need to do a better job securing our data and our infrastructures
2) Independent hackers, not affiliated with any country, are a significant threat that we need to protect ourselves against, and we need to stop assuming we have nothing they want
3) Countries are also attacking us, not just the US and china, but all of them
An interesting article I read this weekend explained how one state (Louisiana?) is suing IBM for its involvement with the NSA. Lawyers always find a way to include more and more entities in lawsuits in order to maximize their profits. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I find it ironic that a government is suing a company due to their involvement wiht the government.