Hacker threat must be curtailed

Lock your front door and a determined burglar will merely climb through a window. Lock it and he may just break the glass to enter. As homeowners know, it can be very difficult to keep thieves out.

Now imagine a “house” with hundreds, perhaps thousands of doors and windows – some of which even the homeowner may not know exist.

What a gift to the criminal element.

That is one way of visualizing why it so difficult to keep computer hackers from gaining access to personal information via the Internet. Computers and software used for various tasks have many vulnerabilities enabling hackers to gain access and sometimes, to manipulate digital systems.

It happens a lot. Just a few days ago, federal officials admitted the personnel files of millions of government employees were accessed by hackers, possibly employed by China.

“Einstein,” a government system of defending against such intrusions, was supposed to have prevented incidents such as the recent one.

At a cost of $376 million for this year alone, “Einstein” seems to have been one more costly government flop.

Some members of Congress are upset about that. Government computer security officials – who, remember, have made grandiose promises – should be held accountable.

Meanwhile, more needs to be done to keep Americans safe from hackers bent on victimizing us through our computers.


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