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Cybersecurity

Chertoff, Genachowski Join FCC Cybersecurity Roundtable

WASHINGTON May 17, 2011- As part of National Small Business Week, the Federal Communications Commission assembled leading experts for a cybersecurity roundtable discussion on Monday and unveiled a set of new partnerships aimed at educating the public.

“A recent Symantec study found that American small businesses lose billions annually to cyber-attacks, and 74 percent of small and medium businesses reported being affected by cyber-attacks in the past 12 months,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “The average cost of each cyber-attack to small and medium sized businesses is nearly $200,000.”

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WASHINGTON May 17, 2011- As part of National Small Business Week, the Federal Communications Commission assembled leading experts for a cybersecurity roundtable discussion on Monday and unveiled a set of new partnerships aimed at educating the public.

“A recent Symantec study found that American small businesses lose billions annually to cyber-attacks, and 74 percent of small and medium businesses reported being affected by cyber-attacks in the past 12 months,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “The average cost of each cyber-attack to small and medium sized businesses is nearly $200,000.”

As more business expand their online presence they become increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks which have ranged from the stealing of customer data to intellectual property theft.

Cheri McGuire, vice president of global government affairs & cybersecurity policy at Symantec said that a recent survey conducted by the company found that nearly 50 percent of small businesses do not have a cybersecurity plan and 40 percent claimed that that data protection was not an important tissue for them.

“Protecting data needs to become as common and important as putting money in a safe to protect it,” said former Secretary for Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. “The only way to fully protect from a cyber-attack is to not connect to the internet at all, but that is just not realistic. We must instead learn how to mitigate its effects and offer adequate protection.”

Chertoff suggested that small businesses take simple precautions, such as not using free Wi-Fi connections to conduct business transactions or ensuring that passwords are regularly changed as a baseline in protecting against attack.

Dr. Phyllis Schneck, chief technology officer at McAfee Public Sector, added that in addition to protecting the network from attack over the internet businesses need to be aware of their physical networks.

“Connecting a foreign USB key to a networked computer is the easiest way to gain entry into a secure network,” Schneck said. “This simple act of connecting unidentified hardware can easily bring down a network.”

In an effort to educate the business community the FCC announced that it will partner with U.S. Chamber of Commerce, McAfee, Symantec, SCORE and the National Urban League to develop a unified cybersecurity tip sheet.

“We wanted to create a single message to provide the best information possible without confusing people by offering different sets of guidelines,” Genachowski said.

The FCC also plans to hold a cybersecurity education event later this year in association with SCORE’s eBusiness Now program.

To expand education amongst the general public, the Commission plans to join the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE).

“The NICE partnership runs the Stop. Think. Connect. Campaign, which is designed to raise awareness among the American public about the need to strengthen cybersecurity—and to generate and communicate new approaches and strategies to help Americans increase their safety and security online,” Genachowski explained.

The FCC also issued a Tip Sheet which provides simple tasks people can take to protect themselves, including: “Secure your Wi-Fi networks” and “If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace make sure it is secure and hidden.”

The Tip Sheet along with additional information can be found at the newly launched CyberSecurity section of the FCC’s site, http://www.fcc.gov/cyberforsmallbiz

Rahul Gaitonde has been writing for BroadbandBreakfast.com since the fall of 2009, and in May of 2010 he became Deputy Editor. He was a fellow at George Mason University’s Long Term Governance Project, a researcher at the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology and worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University, where his research focused on the economic and social benefits of broadband expansion. He has written extensively about Universal Service Fund reform, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and the Broadband Data Improvement Act

Cybersecurity

On Cybersecurity, Federal Guidance is Absent and Local Governments Won’t Let Them In, Says Cisco

Texas government official says that “cybersecurity needs to be a kitchen table topic.”

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Photoillustration for a Cisco innovation and research symposium in April 2018 by J. Barande used with permission

WASHINGTON, January 27, 2022 – Software and networking company Cisco is asking state governments to let it in on the conversation of cybersecurity.

Mike Witzman, the director of systems engineering at Cisco, said at a cybersecurity event hosted by the Information Technology Industry Council on Wednesday that the company wants to be more than a product or service and wants to be involved in government conversations about improving security against vulnerabilities.

Witzman emphasized the need to bolster public-private partnerships in front of Texas and Florida representatives Wednesday. That included Amanda Crawford, chief information officer for the State of Texas, who said the state’s plan includes responding to cybersecurity events with the urgency of natural disasters.

The problem currently hampering the Lone Star state, according to Crawford and Texas House Representative Giovanni Capriglione, is that local governments are not participating in cyber matters as much as they could or should. They also blamed a lack of guidance from the federal government on their cybersecurity preparedness.

Training for cybersecurity and individual protection

James Grant, Florida’s chief information officer, said that his state is focused on bringing recent graduates in for cyber training to prepare the state in protection measures.

The discussion also raised the need for citizens to protect themselves. That included getting citizens to do basic things like use stronger passwords and activate multi-factor authentication to protect their data.

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Cybersecurity

Biden On Lookout for Cyberattacks with Russia Massing on Border of Ukraine

The president says that, in the past, Russia has taken covert military actions.

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Photo of President Joe Biden on Thursday

WASHINGTON, January 20, 2022 – President Joe Biden said Thursday that the administration will be on the lookout for Russian cyberattacks in Ukraine as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin may be edging closer to invading Ukrainian territory.

Biden warned that, in the past, Russia has launched aggressive computer attacks that, while perhaps falling short of overt military action, have been daunting cyber-offensives of “military” officials not wearing Russian uniforms.

The comments came at the beginning of Thursday’s meeting of Biden’s Infrastructure Implementation Task Force. Biden briefly addressed rising tensions surrounding Ukraine.

Many critics of Russia, including Biden, have said that they Putin will pounce.

During his remarks, Biden said Moscow would “pay a heavy price” should it move any Russian troops across the Ukrainian border.

Following his foreign policy comments, Biden turned his attention to the planned task force talks on implementing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed on November 15, 2022.

He turned to former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the administration’s unofficial “infrastructure czar,” to offer comments on the administration’s progress to press.

Biden specifically addressed the law’s implications for ongoing supply chain issues.

Since the back half of 2021, the world has faced historic shipping delays on a variety of commercial goods as global manufacturing systems continue struggling to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic and workforce shortages exacerbated by it.

Specifically, the tech industry has faced chronic shortages of semiconductor chips, perhaps worse than most other commodities. The shortages have crippled many digital industry supply chains. products.

Biden said that with the infrastructure law investment in physical infrastructure, including additional highways to alleviate traffic on the nation’s roads, will allow goods to be transported faster through existing supply chains.

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Cybersecurity

Telework Here to Stay, But Devices Need Beefed Up Security

The future of teleworking will need upgraded security.

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Allen McNaughton, sales director at Infoblox

WASHINGTON, January 19, 2022 – Remote work is here to stay, but that means getting up to speed on securing websites is critical, said a director at an information technology security company Wednesday.

At a Business of Federal Technology event, which posed the question “is hybrid forever?,” Kiran Ahuja, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, said “hybrid remote work and telework policies are clearly helping not only federal agencies, but literally every single office, company, and organization in this country.”

But while Allen McNaughton, sales director at security company Infoblox, agreed that telehealth is “here to stay, no doubt about it,” he also made clear that the reality of hybrid work is not effective without protected technology.

“When you have telework, when you have people that can work anywhere in the world, the world is now your attack surface,” says McNaughton. McNaughton noted that there is now a greater opportunity for hackers to install malware on unsecure devices.

The country has already been gripped by high-profile cyberattacks, including on software company SolarWinds, oil transport company Colonial Pipeline, and meat producer JBS USA.

Some of the attackers simply gained access because devices had simple default passwords, raising concern among security experts about how prepared people are for full-time remote work and school.

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