Connect with us


Cybersecurity Conference Considers Challenges; Debates Need for New Solutions

WASHINGTON July 28, 2010 –Speaking at a conference on cybersecurity hosted by the Department of Commerce yesterday, one expert argued that when it comes to cybersecurity threats, “we don’t need a new strategy.” The speaker, Philip Reitinger of the Department for Homeland Security, made the observation in the introduction to his remarks on how combating cybersecurity might be accomplished in the current climate.



WASHINGTON July 28, 2010 –Speaking at a conference on cybersecurity hosted by the Department of Commerce yesterday, one expert argued that when it comes to cybersecurity threats, “we don’t need a new strategy.” The speaker, Philip Reitinger of the Department for Homeland Security, made the observation in the introduction to his remarks on how combating cybersecurity might be accomplished in the current climate.

“Heaven help us from a new strategy! We don’t need a new strategy. We need to evolve our strategy,” Reitinger said. “We can’t let the urgent completely trump the strategic and critical. We all depend upon an internet ecosystem that is fundamentally insecure. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, but it’s designed in a way for resiliency but not necessarily in a way with security built in.”

Reitinger’s remarks drew laughs from his fellow panelists Cita Furlani, Vint Cerf, Michael Barrett and Ken Silva in what was the fourth and final panel of the day-long conference.

The prospect of a “new strategy” for dealing with cybersecurity was, Reitinger’s speech excepted, cited as a necessity by almost every panelist and speaker at the event. One persistent theme that emerged from several speakers’ remarks was the market failure involved in creating incentives for consumers to care about cybersecurity.

According to Larry Clinton, President of the Internet Security Alliance and a member of the third panel, “All the incentives are on the side of the attacker. It’s cheap; your chances of getting caught are negligible. If you think about it, you’d wonder why you’re not in this business.”

Clinton sketched out the issue using the example of credit card identity theft. “Let’s assume someone compromises my credit card. The places he buys this stuff from are fine,” Clinton said. “I’m fine. The banks that didn’t do anything get all the costs. The costs are misaligned with respect to the economics of cybersecurity.”

Michael Barrett of Paypal shifted focus on the problem of market failure by pointing out the disproportionality between criminal responses to cybercrime and criminal responses to real-life crime.

“If I steal an iPad in real life, I will be stopped by some burly and rather unfriendly employee at the door,” Barrett said. “If I steal the equivalent of ten iPads on the net, no one gives a damn. In fact, ten isn’t even interesting. A hundred, maybe.”

Vint Cerf, Vice President of Google, put the problem most succinctly in the fourth panel. “The people who cause a lot of the problems do not suffer the consequences,” Cerf said.

While market failure was a persistent theme in the conference, government failure was also a constant warning voiced by panelists. “For any of the policy influencers in the room, as you’re working through these things, I’d almost implore you to stay on the side of simplicity,” said Mark Mattis of Costco Wholesale during the third panel discussion. “It’s already a complex network out there that we have to maneuver.”

Meanwhile, in the first panel, Kristin Lovejoy, Vice President of Security Strategy at IBM, warned that the search for perfect solutions was futile from a business perspective. “There is no such thing as 100 percent security,” Lovejoy said. “There is no such thing as return without risk.”

Both of these problems – the increasing incentives for cyber-attacks, and the challenges facing a public-private partnership surrounding the issue – were acknowledged by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke in the opening speech of the convention.

“The importance of cybersecurity can be summed up in just one word: confidence,” Locke said, identifying three threats to consumer confidence that existing research predicted. “First, malicious access is emanating from the developing countries; second, thieves are seeking customer information; third, attacks that consumers usually fall prey to are evolving.”

However, Locke admitted that combating these various threats to cybersecurity was not necessarily a straightforward process. “For businesses, a more tailored approach to cybersecurity might be needed,” Locke said.

Mytheos Holt recently graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Government and History, receiving high honors in Government. He served as a weekly columnist at the Wesleyan Argus, Wesleyan University's campus-wide newspaper, and founded the Wesleyan Witness political commentary magazine. He is originally from Big Sur, Calif., and currently resides in Washington, D.C.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply


Large Telecoms Pitch Strike Force for Internet Traffic Security Over Global Gateway

Verizon, AT&T and Lumen warned about prescriptive rules that could diminish security.



WASHINGTON, February 23, 2023 – Verizon, AT&T and Lumen Technologies have proposed that the Federal Communications Commission adopt and lead a strike force consisting of various industry, government and international participants to come up with policy mechanisms to secure internet traffic over the global gateway.

The proposals are particular to the border gateway protocol, which is how global traffic is routed. The problem is that there are no security features to ensure trust of the information being routed, according to the FCC, which opened a proceeding on the matter on February 28 last year asking for commentary on what to do about the issue. The concern is that without security measures, bad network actors can redirect traffic to itself instead of the intended recipient, which exposes Americans to the theft of identity, extortion, financial transactions, and state spying, the commission noted.

In the letter last week, the three telecommunications companies proposed that secure internet traffic routing practices over the border gateway protocol first focus on critical infrastructure entities in the United States and its allies to allow these telecommunications companies to protect the traffic routes via filtering.

The filtering would involve registering traffic origins and identifying where to filter traffic along the route, including at interconnection peering points and customer routers. The proposed strike force would involve Big Tech companies and cloud platforms, which the FCC asked if it should include in its original proceeding document, as they have networking equipment and BGP routers. The internet service providers, who have their own filtering practices, also floated the possibility of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency requiring other agencies to provide that information.

The proposal also includes “collaborative assurances” in which the ISPs would provide confidential technical briefings about the practices.

But they advise against the FCC making prescriptive rules about such practices, noting that different ISPs have different approaches by design, and that any onerous approach could jeopardize security, not bolster it.

Questions about FCC’s jurisdiction over a fundamentally global internet routing system

The trio also questioned the jurisdiction of the commission on the routing ecosystem, which is fundamentally global.

“Asserting prescriptive regulatory control over internet protocols could have cascading effects, prompting international regulators – and authoritarian regimes in general – to seek greater internet control at the global level through” the United Nation’s telecommunications regulatory, the International Telecommunication Union.

“This would create barriers to U.S. leadership in the global digital economy and U.S. national security and is directly contrary to core interests of the United States and our free market democratic allies,” they added.

The FCC’s notice came just days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which resulted in reports of increased cyberattacks from the warring regions. In fact, the FCC accused Russian network operators of inexplicably routing traffic through its country, including from traffic from Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and major credit card companies MasterCard and Visa.

It also came before a law was passed that requires critical infrastructure companies to report to the federal government within a certain timeframe when they have experienced a hack or breach, as the country grapples with a number of high-profile attacks since the pandemic began.

The FCC has targeted national security threats by halting license authorizations to Chinese firms and putting on a blacklist a number of companies whose equipment American telecommunications companies are expected to remove from their networks.

Continue Reading


Smaller Companies Facing Cybersecurity Insurance Headwinds: Equifax Executive

Cost of insurance for cybersecurity could be a problem for smaller companies.




WASHINGTON, February 15, 2023 – Smaller companies may face increasing cybersecurity insurance costs as the market evolves, warned an executive at credit bureau company Equifax.

Cybersecurity insurance will be extraordinarily important for small-to-medium-sized businesses, said Jamil Farshchi, executive vice president and chief information security officer. But premium cybersecurity insurance coverage has increased in recent years, with many small-to-medium-sized businesses relying on that cybersecurity insurance to keep them safe.

“These are small businesses that don’t have the resources that larger organizations do,” Farshchi said. “So I worry as the insurance market evolves, the premiums and the coverage levels are getting such that is very difficult.”

Equifax was a victim of one of the country’s most infamous breaches, when in 2017 the data of 147 million Americans were stolen by hackers. The company settled for hundreds of millions of dollars with the Federal Trade Commission.

Experts have urged companies to assume that any outside program is vulnerable to hacking, a position known as “zero trust.” This way, they can take the necessary measures to address the attack.

The United States has been on heightened alert when it comes to cybersecurity issues. Over the last two years, a number of high-profile cybersecurity breaches have impacted a software company, an oil transporter, and a meat producer. Those cybersecurity problems have triggered legislation that requires that the federal government be alerted when critical industries suffer such breaches.

After Russia invaded Ukraine early last year, a number of cybersecurity hacks emerged from those countries, according to an Atlas VPN report shortly after the invasion.

Continue Reading


CES 2023: Consumers Need to Understand Personal Cybersecurity, Says White House Cyber Official

Consumers must better understand how to weigh risks and protect themselves in the digital world, said Camille Stewart Gloster.



Photo of John Mitchell, Tobin Richardson, Amit Elazari, and Camille Stewart Gloster (left to right)

LAS VEGAS, January 7, 2023 – In addition to building a more robust cybersecurity workforce, policymakers should consider consumer education, said Camille Stewart Gloster, deputy national cyber director for technology and ecosystem for the White House, speaking Saturday at the Consumer Electronics Show.

CES 2023 has featured numerous discussions of cybersecurity in sectors ranging from transportation to Internet of Things home devices. On Thursday, an official from the Department of Homeland Security argued that manufactures should design and pre-configure devices to be secure, thus reducing the security burden on consumers.

For their own protection, consumers must better understand how to weigh risks and protect themselves in the digital world, Stewart Gloster said Saturday. “The sooner that people understand that their physical security and digital security are inextricably linked the better,” she argued. According to the panel’s moderator, Consumer Technology Association senior manager for government affairs John Mitchell, 82 percent of data breaches in 2021 involved “the human element, stolen credentials, phishing, misuse.”

Stewart Gloster’s team is working on a national cyber-workforce and education strategy, she said, which will address the federal cyber workforce, the national cyber workforce, cyber education, and “digital safety awareness.”

Stewart Gloster said workforce initiatives should promote the participation of “people of a diverse set of backgrounds who are highly skilled and multidisciplinary who can take a look at the problem space, who can apply their lived experiences, apply the things they’ve observed, apply their academic backgrounds to a challenging and ever evolving landscape.”

Continue Reading

Signup for Broadband Breakfast News

Broadband Breakfast Research Partner