Educating the public about computer-based security threats has become an important goal for the Department of Homeland Security. However, these run the gamut from identity thefts and hacking websites to infiltrating critical infrastructure. Suzanne Spaulding, senior adviser for Homeland Security at the CSIS International Security Program, says that the term cybersecurity has become too broad.
“It covers too many different things. As a result, instead of illuminating the conversation, it just confuses people. When we talk about cybersecurity, the American public doesn’t know if we are talking about a data breach that means they will get a new credit card in the mail and have to change their automatic payments. Which is a pain in the neck. Or does that mean a breach that may take down part of the electric grid for an extended period a time. Or even a hack into military systems,” Spaulding said. “Those are very different things. The theft of personal information is not the same as an attack on industrial control system. Yet, we cover it all in this vague term ‘cybersecurity.’”