Congress failed last year to approve legislation aimed at preventing attacks on our country through cyberspace. In turn, some security experts have expressed concerns about a 2013 full of large-scale cyberattacks on the nation's most critical components. Analysts have gone as far as saying fatalities could result from the spike in cyberwarfare.

David Loudon, Science and Technology Adviser for Townsquare Media, would not support the hype. He said there is "no smoking gun" that shows America, or any other nation, is particularly vulnerable in the new year.

Computer viruses
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"A lot of what people have been saying is pretty much conjecture," Loudon explained. "Everybody's watching; everybody's waiting, but there's really no indication of any hot war about to break out in cyberspace."

Loudon would admit, though, an uptick in the number of attacks known as "denial of service." The United States was victim to such an attack late last year when a number of major banks saw their web sites crash.

"When this happens, the sophistication is such that it is very difficult to tell who's calling the shots. There's no easy way because all the traffic is encrypted, and it's redirected in many ways," Loudon said.

However, Loudon said "denial of service" attacks do not have the goal of stealing anything like money or personal info; they are meant to temporarily interfere with commerce.

"There are some very, very good security people that are working on this right now," Loudon said of potential cyberwarfare. "It's not like these people are being caught unaware."

John Essner, Chief Information Security Officer with the NJ Office of Information Technology, said New Jersey has staff devoted to cybersecurity.

"The State is continually taking steps to further protect our Internet perimeter and access," Essner said. "We are collaborating with (federal agencies) to consistently increase the State's situational and security awareness in cybersecurity."

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