Complementing threats and incidents of violence, Congress and other government agencies are under a cyber attack an average of 1.8 billion times a month, a number that has been growing exponentially since President Obama took office. In 2008, security events caused by vectors including worms, Trojan horses, and spybots averaged 8 million hits per month. That number skyrocketed to 1.6 billion in 2009 and climbed to 1.8 billion this year, according to the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms. The Senate Security Operations Center alone receives 13.9 million of those attempts per day. “We operate in an escalating attack environment in which threats to our information infrastructure are increasing in both frequency and sophistication,” the Sergeant-at-Arms wrote in testimony submitted to a Senate Appropriations subcommittee March 4. “Our raw numbers bear this out, so we must remain on guard.” The vast majority of the attacks have been stopped by the network’s automated system defenses, but cyber attackers have become smarter. Attacks are increasingly focused on infiltrating application software on Hill staffer computers, including Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Office, and Internet Explorer, which may not have the latest security patches.