"Assaults on stand-alone and networked computers, called cyber attacks, are escalating in frequency and severity as the world relies increasingly on World Wide Web applications for commerce, defense, research, education, and health care. In particular, government operations have come to depend on the Internet and are, therefore, vulnerable to a variety of attacks. As a result, cyber security has become a top national priority requiring the best computer experts in government, academia, and business. Some of these experts are working on a Lawrence Livermore project whose goal is to develop a fundamentally new approach for cyber defense. Forms of attack vary but most are attempts to read, alter, or destroy data or to compromise a computer's operating system to take control of the machine. Most computer users are aware of the possible danger from computer viruses, worms, and 'phishing,' in which an attacker sends an e-mail purporting to come from a valid bank or credit card company and requests personal information. They are also aware that simply surfing the Web can result in 'drive-by downloads,' in which malicious software (malware) is unknowingly installed on the user's computer. Some cyber attacks are the work of solitary hackers simply yearning for notoriety. However, far more sophisticated threats exist, in particular from overseas groups, designed to steal important military and business data as well as personal banking information. U.S. computer experts estimate that more than 60,000 machines per day are co-opted into loose networks of computers, called botnets, some of which are operated by foreign professionals."
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: https://www.llnl.gov/
Science & Technology Review (January/February 2010)