It is no secret the critical infrastructure of the United States is under cyber attack – every second of every day – from a threat that continues to evolve over time. And it isn’t slowing down – this past quarter, McAfee announced that malware had its highest growth rate on record.
We face a dangerous problem – one that will require a significant commitment from both the public and private sector and an approach fueled by innovation. Today, our Federal government showcased great leadership as they look to counter the severity of this threat to our economy.
The U.S. Department of Commerce released a report today, Cybersecurity, Innovation and the Internet Economy, which is an important step forward in strengthening our defenses against the cyber threat, which also highlights some recommendations that will help our country and business community strengthen our defenses.
We at McAfee believe the following concepts from the green paper are a welcome step in addressing the threat to our digital economy:
- The Threat Landscape Has Changed – The report is a clear acknowledgement of the threat landscape, how it has changed in a fundamental way, and the need for action. From the Google attacks, aka Operation Aurora, to the cyber attacks on major energy companies earlier this year, aka Night Dragon, the cyber threat is becoming more dangerous, more evolved and more adaptable to defenses.
- The Importance of Innovation – Our technology sector must continue to play a vital role in bringing to market new and improved security products and solutions to address the ever more threatening cyber landscape. Only through innovation from our technology industry can we augment our ability to stop the threat. From investing in R&D and education to policies that are friendly to commercial grade security technologies, we can achieve the innovation necessary to stop this adversary.
- The Public/Private Partnership – There has been much discussion on the importance of a genuine public/private partnership, but incentives are needed to foster the collaboration necessary to face this adversary. We applaud the report’s focus on offering incentives to organizations to develop improved cyber security plans, policies, procedures and operational cyber defenses and for enhancing collaboration with international parties.
Each of these three core concepts drive the other – sharing information will foster a different look at the problem, which will lead to innovation, where all parties benefit. We need to make progress in all, simultaneously, if we are to truly advance our defenses.
Finally, our cyber adversaries know no bounds. They do not care about jurisdiction and have a history of sharing their “best practices” for cyber attacks. At McAfee we have been front and center on the importance of facilitating information sharing for quite some time and commend the Department for highlighting its importance.
Make no mistake. We all need to work together, day in and day out, to bring the changes that this report recommends. And the leadership shown today is a welcome, and needed, step in this direction.