Cyber Report: Life on Technology Edge

Friday, September 30, 2011 @ 12:09 PM gHale

America’s economy and industrial base get life from technology advances, but at the same time live in the shadow of constant threats from state actors who infiltrate increasingly edgeless digital networks.

Using technology to gain success demands a strategy that couples agile, adaptive national security policies with flexible legislation defining government roles and authorities, according to a new report by CACI International Inc. (CACI), the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) and the Center for Security Policy (CSP).

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To achieve a secure environment, there must be a balance between national security imperatives and personal privacy, and U.S.-led international agreements must establish norms and enforce sanctions, according to the report entitled “Cyber Threats to National Security: Keeping the Nation’s Industrial Base Safe From Cyber Threats.”

There is “compelling evidence from leading experts that America’s industrial base faces significant cyber threats, said CACI Chairman of the Board Dr. J.P. (Jack) London. “Only through the development of a dynamic, national, cyber security policy framework, which directs all government agencies and promotes public-private partnerships, can we hope to protect our economy. In the 10 years since September 11, our nation has made great strides in securing our homeland, and as our report indicates, we must remain vigilant.”

The 40-page report talks about security being “further complicated by many Americans’ idealized notions of cyberspace, as well as the difficulties in promulgating policies and legislation that clearly assign roles and responsibilities to particular government entities and keep pace with the exponentially evolving cyber medium.

“Against this ominous backdrop, the nation’s critical infrastructure remains vulnerable to a vast array of cyber attacks, crimes, and other activities inimical to U.S. national security objectives.

“Cyber threats to industry emanate from numerous sources. These range from traditional external actors such as rogue states, to highly sophisticated intruders posing an advanced persistent threat, to ‘inside’ sources lurking within the most trusted circles of U.S government, industry and academia.

“Protecting the industrial base has been further hindered by industrial migration into cloud computing and by the difficulty in ensuring that technological protections in this area are sufficiently dynamic to counter the ever-morphing cyber threat.

“The challenge of securing cyberspace and protecting the industrial base against these threats is daunting, but not insurmountable. Success demands a strategy that couples agile, adaptive national security policies with market incentives designed to spur private forging of the technological shields and swords required to defeat a technology-driven enemy.

“Any strategy to defeat the cyber threat and protect America’s industrial base must be supported by flexible legislation that defines government roles and authorities while balancing national security imperatives with personal privacy, and by U.S.-led international agreements that establish norms and enforce sanctions. If carried out among an aware citizenry by federal officials who recognize private industry’s indispensable cyber security role, and a savvy, technologically educated workforce, such an approach offers the U.S. the surest path to safeguarding its industrial base within a cyberspace that remains more a bustling social and economic forum and marketplace than a battlefield.”

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