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Computer Security's Six Most Important Words Of 2008

For good or ill, these six words were top of mind for security pros -- and hackers -- in the past year
Obama

The final word that was on everybody's lips -- and everybody's keyboard -- in 2008 was Barack Obama. (OK, that's two words. Sue us.) The upstart presidential candidate swept offices and Websites into a storm of discussion throughout the year, ultimately climaxing in his November victory.

Much of the security discussion focused on the integrity of candidates' Websites, the rapid rise of spam, phishing, and malware attacks linked to election news and events, and the vulnerabilities surrounding electronic voting machines. Obama's rivals, John McCain and Sarah Palin, both suffered hacking incidents.

Now that the elections are over, however, many security experts are asking more weighty questions about Obama's presidency. A blue-ribbon panel has already made recommendations on what the new president should do about key cybersecurity issues. Further questions about new cabinet posts, including a CTO and cybersecurity czar, also show a growing interest in the new president's initiatives on cyberwarfare, e-commerce security, personal data protection, and user privacy.

And whether you're Barack Obama or the average IT security manager, it's clear that 2009 will be at least as eventful as 2008.

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