Erroneous Statistic Has Dubious Effects

May 23, 2017

How A Fake Cyber Statistic Raced Through Washington

Source: Nextgov, Joseph Marks, May 3, 2017

Editor’s note: This article was updated with comments from Sen. Brian Schatz’s office and NIST.

It’s the kind of figure that can make your jaw drop, the kind that forces lawmakers and public officials to get off their duffs and do something, that drives home the way cyber insecurity is ravaging small businesspeople across the nation.

House and Senate lawmakers have cited it in bills that would redirect federal resources and are awaiting action on their chambers’ floors. Top executive branch officials have cited it in official testimony to Congress.

But it’s completely erroneous, not based on any existing study, according to an exhaustive Nextgov search.

The statistic, typically attributed to the National Cyber Security Alliance, is that 60 percent of small businesses that suffer a cyberattack will go out of business within six months.

It appears in a House bill that won unanimous support from that chamber’s Science Committee this week, cited as evidence the federal government must devote more resources to helping small businesses shore up their cybersecurity. It’s also in a companion Senate bill that sailed through the Commerce Committee in April.  READ MORE….

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