From hacked emails to major data breaches, cyber attacks could potentially cripple our economy and threaten national security.
On October 21, 2016, hackers shut down half of America's Internet by targeting Dyn, a company that manages key parts of the Web's infrastructure. Within minutes, the cyber attack took major websites like Twitter and Spotify offline.
Earlier this year, cyber hackers tried to break into nuclear power plants across the country, but they were unsuccessful.
And in one of the biggest stories of the year, federal investigators are still trying to determine how Russia may have interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
This new type of warfare is part of the information age that has come to dominate our lives.
"Every day, whether it be a government agency, an academic institution, or a health care provider, they are getting hit digitally, interrogated, re-conned, probed by entities out there," said Dr. Jeffery Hayman, who teaches at Regent University's Institute for Cybersecurity.
"Now that entity could be like a little kid who's just bored," he continued. "It could go all the way up to a nefarious actor or an organization in a foreign nation. It could be the foreign national government themselves."
Brigadier General Yaron Rosen, former chief of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) cyber staff, talks with Pat Robertson about the growing threat of cyber attack and how both nations and private companies can be ready to fight back on Tuesday's 700 Club.
Hayman believes today's worst offenders in this computer espionage are China, Russia, and North Korea.
"It is hard to defend when you've got billions of people in totalitarian governments who wish to do harm to democratic governments," he said.
Educating Companies on Cybersecurity Dangers
FBI special agent Robert Cochran tries to spread the word about cybersecurity danger to companies like Eastern Data in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
"Countries like China, and Russia, and even Iran are standing up entire divisions of their military just to do cyber-based attacks," he told a gathering of Eastern Data employees at a Lunch & Learn event.
"So these are cyber soldiers," he continued. "We're trying to do the same thing, but we're really late to the game. Our guys are really good at it, but we're not quite there yet. But hopefully, we will be very soon."
New Form of Warfare
He says for now, the United States is focusing on defense in this new form of warfare.
"I can say that the military, the United States generally looks at attacking another country as an act of war in many cases, and our military is reserved for conducting warfare," he explained.
While cyber warfare between nation-states may sound far removed, it's clearly happening each day on a smaller scale. How do you protect yourself at home and on the job? One practice can work for all kinds of viruses -- good hygiene.
"Keep a clean machine. You want to keep all your Internet-connected devices free from infections and malware," Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, told CBN News.
Education is the Best Defense
Hayman believes education is the best defense.
"You should have a plan for every person coming into your company, agency, whatever – they get trained on basic cybersecurity, information technology, computer science methods, defenses, common phishing techniques," he elaborated.
The National Consumers League also helps educate consumers on cybersecurity.
"I think the data breaches, whether they come from a nation-state or from a cyber criminal, absolutely affect all consumers, and all consumers should be concerned about this," John Breyault, vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud for NCL, told CBN News.
So what kinds of laws are on the books to fight cyber crime? Breyault says on the federal level, the protection is surprisingly minimal, and his organization is lobbying to change that.
"We'd like Congress to pass a comprehensive national data security standard that will require any business or organization that collects information about their customers to give it a reasonable level of data security," he said.