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Search Tags: cyber
November 17th, 2010 at 11:00AM
The Internet is more than just a technology. It is a domain—similar to the domains of land, air, sea and space, but with its own distinct challenges. The cyber domain has national and international dimensions that include industry, trade, intellectual property, security, technology, culture, policy, and diplomacy. It includes all parts of the converged network, from computer networks to satellite communications, and is not bound by international borders. How can the United States shape the global cyber landscape to promote U.S. economic interests, and develop a cyber domain that considers transparency, accessibility, security, and privacy? Cyber 2020: the Future of the Internet, is part of the Booz Allen Hamilton Expert Voices panel series, moderated by Executive Vice President Mike McConnell and featuring top government and commercial experts.
October 27th, 2010
Representative Jim Langevin of Rhode Island and the Honorable Tom Davis discuss the reform of the 2002 Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and the pending Congressional Cybersecurity bills.
To Improve Cybersecurity the Federal Government Must Enhance Its Partnership with the Private Sector
Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. During National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the Administration has educated the general public about the evolving risk of cyber threats through its "Stop. Think. Connect." campaign and reminded the American people, government agencies, and industry that everyone has a role to play in guarding against cyber attacks. At the same time, Administration officials have leveraged the momentum of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month to announce changes in government organizational relationships designed to enhance the security of federal information assets and networks in cyberspace, such as the Memorandum of Agreement between the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) formalizing agency roles and responsibilities for coordinating cybersecurity. One area that has received less public attention is the need for government to enhance its partnership with the private sector.
Building this partnership and clarifying these roles and responsibilities is critical. The private sector's resources are inextricably linked to our government's efforts to successfully secure federal information in cyberspace for several key reasons, most notably:
- Much of the nation's cyber infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector. Because the public, government, educational institutions, and industry rely on cyberspace, an attack against a major player in the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure sector may not be just an attack against a company. Instead, it may result in an attack against the Internet itself and may impact citizens, governments, and companies across the globe. The federal cybersecurity community must clarify the degree to which government and industry should partner to prevent, detect, and defend against these challenges
- Each key sector of the nation's Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CIKR) leverages cyberspace to perform mission-critical tasks.Cyberspace minimizes and, in some instances, eliminates jurisdictional, organizational, and technical boundaries of CIKR sectors (e.g., emergency services, defense industrial base, communications, government facilities, etc.). While the increased capability to share information across sectors enables private sector and government CIKR stakeholders to perform more efficiently and effectively, it also creates additional vulnerabilities in cyberspace. In order to truly be prepared to meet the challenges posed by cyber attacks that could threaten the security of multiple CIKR sectors, the federal government must enhance its partnership with private sector CIKR stakeholders
- There is a shortage of cybersecurity talent in government. While the Cyberspace Policy Review included the need to expand and train its workforce as a key priority, and efforts are underway toward that end, the reality is…the government can't do it alone. Cyber attacks are a constantly evolving, significant threat to our national security and the federal government. In the short-term, the federal government has an immediate need for a qualified, seasoned cybersecurity workforce (e.g., Information System Security Officers (ISSO), cyber strategists, security operations specialists, and program managers, etc.) and must fill these gaps by augmenting its existing workforce with the resources available in the private sector. Long-term, the federal government must assess its broader cyber workforce strategy and the role that the private sector plays in meeting mission-critical cyber requirements
Are we witnessing the beginning of a cyber arms race? Seems like it. The Stuxnet computer virus is taking worries about cyber warfare to a new level. It's the first reported case of malicious software designed to sabotage industrial controls. Experts say it is a prototype of a cyber-weapon that will lead to a new global arms race. Computers will be the weapons. The program specifically targets control systems built by Siemens AG, a German equipment maker. Iran, the target of U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program, has been hit hardest of any country.
Prepare for the worst…and hope for the best. This unofficial mantra of the emergency preparedness and response community also applies to cyber preparedness. This week seven federal agencies, 11 states, 12 international partners, and 60 private sector companies are doing just that: preparing for the worst in cyberspace. These organizations are all participants in Cyber Storm III, a global cybersecurity preparedness exercise led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. By the end of the week, these organizations will have responded to a fictionalized cyber threat scenario designed to test their individual and collective capabilities to respond to cyber attacks and the National Cyber Incident Response Plan (Interim Version, September 2010). Federal cyber preparedness has never been more important. The threat to federal information assets and networks is diverse, persistent, and growing. In recent testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives, General Keith Alexander, Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, stated that U.S. Department of Defense networks are "probed roughly 250,000 times an hour" and characterized the "…shift toward operationalizing cyber tools as weapons to damage or destroy" as a "great concern to us at Cyber Command." The National Cyber Incident Response Plan states:
- Preparedness activities, including establishing common situational awareness in a common operational picture, are shared responsibilities across Federal, State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial governments and the private sector.
- Governance: bringing together the mission, policies, architectures, and organizational alignment to establish the who and what for risk management strategies.
- Risk management: establishing risk tolerance thresholds and implementing the technologies and processes that will assess, prioritize, and monitor risk on a continual basis.
- Compliance: ensuring the organization maintains a cyber security posture compliant with federal laws, regulations, guidelines, and standards with the ability to demonstrate sound risk management strategies when scrutinized by internal and external auditors and Inspectors General.
- Operations: designing, implementing, and monitoring security controls at the operational and tactical levels to include the ability to adequately respond to, withstand, and remediate cyber attacks.
By evaluating federal cybersecurity programs through this framework, agencies can better understand their capabilities and live up to their shared responsibility for cyber preparedness.
People exercise risk management, consciously and unconsciously, every day.
Many of us drive on a daily basis. Some speed, and risk the chance of getting caught, while others are more conservative and drive the exact speed limit. We base our decision on whether or not to exceed the speed limit on the information available to us at the time, including our knowledge, past experiences, or the conditions we see in front of us. We weigh the risks against impacts and consequences, making decisions based upon our tolerance for the outcomes. The same is true for federal cyber risk management.
Securing federal information and assets in cyberspace is the primary driver behind cybersecurity. Even so, other factors help define risk, including the potential for negative publicity if a cyber breach occurs, the impact to budget/performance plans if FISMA grades fall short, or the potential for investigations or congressional hearings if the burning issue of the day burns a bit too bright for too long. Federal cyber risk management fundamentally boils down to making risk decisions based upon an agency's risk tolerance - and the drivers behind an agency's tolerance vary across the federal government.
Risk is defined as the likelihood of a future event that may have unintended or unexpected consequences. Federal agencies make the best cyber risk management decisions by using data and information to evaluate the agency's strengths and weaknesses for delivering on its cyber mission in the context of potential threats.
Agencies must use information and data from various disparate sources across the enterprise to make these decisions, including audit log information, vulnerability data, asset information, the agency's regulatory compliance status, external and internal threat activity, human capital risks to the cybersecurity mission, and many more. As challenging as it may be for agencies to consume large volumes of disparate data, it is a challenge that is essential to overcome for agencies to make the best cyber risk management decisions.
Is this achievable? Absolutely. The business intelligence movement established the foundation allowing agencies to minimize risk exacerbated by ad-hoc decision-making. Leveraging business intelligence capabilities for cybersecurity enables agencies to aggregate data across technical and organizational stovepipes and to provide agency cybersecurity leaders with mechanisms for making informed, risk decisions. By better understanding the cyber landscape, federal cybersecurity leaders can - much like our speeding driver example - understand "how fast" to drive and make better investment decisions when addressing enterprise cybersecurity risks.
Cybersecurity is among the federal government's top priorities…and with good reason. The cyber threat is complex and evolving rapidly. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the number of cyber incidents reported by federal agencies increased by 400% over a four year period. Also, cyber threats come from multiple sources (e.g., terrorists, criminal organizations, hackers, disgruntled insiders, rogue nations, etc.) with a host of motivations for, and resources to, attack.
To beat the cyber threat, federal Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) must assess risk, develop cybersecurity policies, and build the operational infrastructure to execute an agency cybersecurity program. They also need experienced cybersecurity professionals - that's where we come in… A dedicated cybersecurity firm - and the market leader in providing risk management, governance, operations, and compliance services to the federal government - our team takes pride in being the government's trusted advisor for cybersecurity.
In this space, we will share our insights on the news, challenges, and policies that drive decision-making and problem solving around cybersecurity in the federal government. By discussing key cybersecurity topics in this blog, and highlighting those of other federal community thought leaders in our companion "Trusted Advisor Series" on WTOP radio, we hope to add value to this critical dialogue. We look forward to sharing this online experience with you. - KCG's Trusted Advisor
August 12th, 2010 at 11 AM
How does one assure trust in Cyberspace? As citizens, government, and business enterprise increase the amount of information that is shared online, fundamental questions arise around security requirements, data and identity management, and infrastructure. Trusted online environments can reduce costs, expand services, and are critical to protecting how, and to whom, information is shared. Securing identities in transactions is an essential component to building trusted online systems and a critical priority for both business and government. As online information sharing and collaborative services evolve between people and technologies, will trust emerge as the next "Killer App"?
Tags: technology , Expert Voices presented by Booz Allen , Booz Allen , Expert Voices , Citi , Citibank , NSTIC , trust , trusted services , trust framework , securing identity , identity management , cybersecurity , cyberspace , Michael Farber , IT , John Clippinger , Berkman Center for Internet & Society , Dr. Jeff Voas , NIST , Hilary Ward , Global Transaction Services
What's the big deal about a 32-character string of secret code in the logo of the Pentagon's U.S. Cyber Command. The new military command was launched in late May to help centralize Defense Department efforts to protect its computer networks, which are under constant threat from attackers. The Associated Press reports it was created to frustrate everyone from run-of-the-mill hackers to foreign governments looking to steal sensitive information or crash critical, life-sustaining computer systems.
Thursday, June 17th
The sophistication of security breaches of federal information systems and reports of improper access to these systems continues to grow at an alarming rate. Clearly, there is concern about and a desire to improve the security of these critical infrastructures. So where and how do we begin to effectively safeguard today's systems from cyber threats and increasing system vulnerabilities? c