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Cybersecurity

Federalist Society Explores Legal Issues Surrounding Cyber Conflict

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2011 – The Federalist Society convened Tuesday to discuss the complex and interconnected legal and policy issues of cyber security in relation to the law of armed conflict, privacy and legislative action.

Morning and afternoon panels comprised of national security and economic security experts presented to the legal society the difficulties of applying the law of armed conflict towards cyber threats. The new threat conditions introduced by cyber intrusions and attacks do not fit the old paradigm of doing warfare. Panelists agreed, however, that the new rules should not be determined before major cyber conflicts have taken place.

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WASHINGTON, June 30, 2011 – The Federalist Society convened Tuesday to discuss the complex and interconnected legal and policy issues of cyber security in relation to the law of armed conflict, privacy and legislative action.

Morning and afternoon panels comprised of national security and economic security experts presented to the legal society the difficulties of applying the law of armed conflict towards cyber threats. The new threat conditions introduced by cyber intrusions and attacks do not fit the old paradigm of doing warfare. Panelists agreed, however, that the new rules should not be determined before major cyber conflicts have taken place.

“It is not in the United States’ interests to preempt how it will develop,” said Steven Bradbury, former Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel.

“International law does not necessarily apply to cyber warfare,” said Bradbury, “it is largely a policy for the president, not lawyers, to decide the exercise of our national security.”

Panelists focused largely on the conflicts between nation states, but state-sponsored cyber threats are not always the issue. The conflict is asymmetric in nature: the majority of threat actors being organized crime groups targeting private networks and infrastructure systems, and the perpetrators are anonymous and invisible to their targets.

“This administration is the first of three to really try to grapple with this,” said Michael Vatis, founding Director for National Infrastructure Protection at the FBI.

The other panelists also acknowledged the Administration’s attempts to handle the problem, despite the posture of government and industry to be largely defensive in nature due to the anonymity of attackers and the sole legal authority of the government to enact justice.

Still, it is easier to attack than defend, said panelists. Laws and security measures designed to counteract network attacks are often obsolete by the time that they are implemented.

“The enthusiasm for the offense has overwhelmed planning for the defense,” said Stewart Baker, former Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Homeland Security.

According to Baker, “The problem is not that they do not have the [legal] tools, they just can’t find the guys.”

Yesterday, a defense spokesperson also told BroadbandBreakfast.com to expect the Pentagon’s cyber strategy announcement in mid-July, although an exact date was still unclear.

Josh Peterson is a DC-based journalist with a professional writing portfolio that includes work on US foreign policy and international affairs, telecom policy and cyber security, religion, arts, and music. He is currently a journalism intern at The National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C. and a former tech and social media intern at The Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies & Citizenship. Peterson received his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and religion with a minor concentration in music from Hillsdale College in 2008. When he is not writing, Peterson lives a double life as a web designer, social media strategist, photographer, musician and mixed martial artist.

Cybersecurity

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.

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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.”

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Cybersecurity

CES 2023: Cybersecurity for IoT Devices Should be Market-Driven

NIST’s cybersecurity guidelines for IoT prescribe desired outcomes, rather than specific and ‘brittle’ standards.

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Michael Bergman (left) and Katerina Megas

LAS VEGAS, January 6, 2023 – Cybersecurity protocols for Internet of Things devices should be industry-driven, Katerina Megas, program manager of the Cybersecurity for Internet of Things Program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, said Friday at the Consumer Electronics Show 2023.

The popularization of IoT devices gives cyber-criminals increasing opportunities to breach networks, many say. Network-connected household devices – e.g., lightbulbs and home security devices – can be entry-points if security protocols are lacking. On CES panel on Thursday, a cybersecurity official at the Department of Homeland Security argued that manufacturers should design and preset devices to be safe, shifting much of the burden from the consumer.

“For a long-term, sustainable solution, the best approach really is for demand to be market driven,” she said, adding that NIST is “happy” to support the market when called on. To preserve flexibility, NIST’s cybersecurity guidelines for IoT manufacturers in general prescribed desired outcomes, rather than specific and “brittle” standards, Megas said.

“How you achieve those [outcomes] will vary depending on the maturity of your organization, the architecture of your product, perhaps preferences that you might have for you own internal processes,” she explained.

Megas said manufacturers, who well know their devices’ technical capabilities, often lack an understanding of how consumers actually use their devices. Megas said she has examined how to “help a manufacturer who has no insights into the final contextual use of this product, how can we help them…understand, ‘Here are the risks associated with my device.’”

At an American Enterprise Institute panel held in November, Megas endorsed an “ecosystem approach” to cybersecurity, arguing that network security is also indispensable.

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Cybersecurity

CES 2023: Railroad Industry Needs Cybersecurity Update

Shawn Smith advocated heavily tailored, industry-specific approaches that can address to the unique needs of the rail industry.

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Photo of Shawn Smith, vice president of business development of Cylus

LAS VEGAS, January 5, 2023 – To keep pace with today’s technological innovations and cyberthreats, the railway industry must retool its cybersecurity defenses, said Shawn Smith, vice president of business development of rail cybersecurity company Cylus.

The railway industry is working to patch old vulnerabilities as well as the new ones that have been create by developing technologies, Smith told Broadband Breakfast at the Consumer Electronics Show on Thursday. The need for enhanced cybersecurity has been a recurring theme at the conference, as have the implications of the ever increasing number of devices and technologies now relying on connectivity.

“We’re really fast-tracking an operator’s ability to keep pace with the change in the digital environment that they’re operating in (and) the interconnectivity that they’re seeing,” Smith said, adding that his team works to provide “visibility, threat detection, and response capability to keep pace with the change in their organizations.”

Smith said that many of the large rail players have developed responses for some cybersecurity risks, but lack the automation and planning tools necessary to maximize their effectiveness. He advocated heavily tailored, industry-specific approaches that can address to the unique needs of the industry.

Governments and industry players worldwide have of late been on high alert for cyberthreats, particularly since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Railways, like other infrastructure, are potential targets for nefarious actors, Smith said.

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