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Rep. Moran Hosts Cybersecurity Summit

by Katie Pyzyk April 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm 3,466 11 Comments

Leaders in the cybersecurity industry gathered at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Ballston this morning to attend a forum hosted by Rep. Jim Moran (D).

Discussion revolved around cyber threats America faces and how best to address the problems as funding dwindles. Speakers noted it’s important to look ahead and focus on what threats may arise, as opposed to those already known.

“We get used to what the current threat level is, and forget how rapidly that can change, ” said Rear Admiral Samuel Cox, Director of Intelligence for U.S. Cyber Command.

Cox said although it doesn’t appear that groups like Al Qaeda have an immediate ability to wage a large scale cyber attack, that’s quickly changing. He stressed America’s need to be prepared to go on the offensive, instead of simply defending itself against cyber attacks.

“Our job is to plan to do things we hope we never, ever have to do,” Cox said.

During her keynote remarks, Teri Takai, the Department of Defense Chief Information Officer, spoke of the recently announced intention to expand a program to help bridge the information gap between government entities and the private sector. Currently, the DoD has a partnership with 37 companies, in which classified information about potential cyber attacks is shared among all the participants. The goal is to expand that number to 200 companies this year. Takai believes the approval from the White House may come in as little as 60 days.

“This is important because this really looks beyond just the DoD world,” Takai said.

Takai said there’s an active effort to look at how to best assess risk in the government’s supply chain. That includes not only ensuring the security of computer hardware and software in use, but also knowing everyone who has access to the network and what they have access to.

Moran said a significant sticking point in information sharing is that private businesses often keep quiet when their systems are hacked. He said at some point, private firms will realize they can’t protect themselves on their own, and will have to be part of the team. He believes the situation requires more collaboration than what exists right now.

“Private firms don’t want to reveal when they’ve been hit and how much they’ve lost,” Moran said. “The government is going to have to play a bigger role.”

Moran reiterated the need for priorities to shift toward cyber from the traditional “boots on the ground” approach to security. He’s confident that as plans for increasing information sharing about cyber security expand, the money to implement such plans will follow.

  • DSS10

    I’m sorry, but even though the defense contractors hope that cyber security will be their next gold mine, I hope the US government can address this threat in both a more transparent and financially responsible manor as opposed to the “War on Terror.”

    • DSS10

      I think the first two point in the slide above Moran’s head captures the true threat they are trying to address.

  • Immature

    The man’s name is Rear Admiral Cox? Haha. Thats gold Jerry, gold!

  • raul

    i’m not sure being ready to go on the offensive is our problem — we’ve got a pretty solid ability to wreak havoc elsewhere.

    right now the biggest problem in terms of physical threats is utility securities — from power plants and grids to dams, sewage, communications and beyond. that and the fact that the chinese are still way too successful in breaking into classified systems.

    • Zoning Victim

      I don’t think they meant going on the offensive militarily; I think they meant it in terms of hacking the hackers. I’m not really sure where we are in terms of launching our own cyber attacks.

      You’re right about the Chinese hacking into our systems successfully far too often. With our government finally letting the cat out of the bag that they can now crack all forms of encryption, you have to expect that China is capable of that, too. Between the ability to defeat encryption and China’s ability to hack into our internal networks, it’s a pretty scary proposition.

      I wonder if it’s going to be possible to protect classified data at all in the near future without going back to paper. If all forms of encryption can be broken with reasonable precision and timeliness, it’s going to be impossible to transmit anything across wide area networks without running the risk of it being intercepted.

      • George

        Regarding launching our own cyber attacks – see stuxnet

        • Courthouse Diva

          Stuxnet — don’t you mean Israel?

          • .T-G.E.O.A

            We wrote it, Israel planted it.

          • put the tin foil hat down

            Where’s your evidence?

          • KalashniKEV

            Israel contracts everything out… with our money- See the recent MEK attacks on scientists.

  • karens

    Cyber Security? Who’s in charge of candidate petition security in the 8th District Democratic Machine?

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