Originally published on Feb 14, 2013
It seems like cyber-security is one of those issues that seem to keep falling off the wayside.
So, even with trillions of dollars worth of information leeched. State secrets stolen, Intellectual property theft, Fortune 1000 companies infiltrated. It's mind boggling to wonder, why this issue does not get the attention it deserves.
So I put on my Analyst hat and decided to peer into the issue from the historical perspective. As in, what has really happened in the past couple of decades. Here's what I was able to unearth:
It was during the late 90′s that President Bill Clinton invited some of the top hackers in the United States to the White House. The President reached out to the hacker community with a clear intent of starting an open and honest dialogue. His message to this group of elite hackers was simple. United States faces cyber threats from all fronts, known and unknown and he wanted their help in helping safeguard these digital assets.
U.S. President Bill Clinton announced a $1.46 billion initiative to improve government computer security. The plan would establish a network of intrusion detection monitors for certain federal agencies and encourage the private sector to do the same. [link]
June: The Bush administration files a bill to create the Department of Homeland Security, which, among other things, will be responsible for protecting the nation’s critical IT infrastructure.
During the annual RSA conference, Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has a simple request: “Send some of your best & brightest employees to help the government’s efforts.” [link]
Accoring to ICS-CERT, U.S. critical infrastructure companies saw a dramatic increase in the number of reported cyber-security incidents between 2009 and 2011. In fact, the rate of increase on critical infrastructure alone was a staggering 2200%. [link]
Cyber Security advisor Richard Clarke warned that most of the major companies (within United States) are being regularly infiltrated by foreign hackers employed to steal R&D.
Obama signs a Cyber Security executive order. But it’s mostly relegated to information sharing. No comprehensive plan when it comes to safeguarding critical assets and/or a strategy to prevent a wide scale cyber attack. And/or creating a separate network for critical infrastructure.
Between the ever increasing rate of hacking incidents, state sponsored acts of cyber espionage, as well as a growing number of attacks against critical infrastructure. It’s pretty evident here that something needs to be done. However, I am wondering:
Overall, the issue is finally getting addressed. But I suspect and I really hope that I am wrong. But I suspect that:
Whether it is cyber defence or any other kind of defence, the need is clear. The ability to provision efficient and advanced technologies in order to mitigate and prevent attacks of all kinds. Amongst other things, there is a huge need to leverage systems-thinking in order to overcome these issues. The names of men like Vannevar Bush and Frederick Terman comes to mind.
The inability to provision a new kind of intelligence and a new framework for military and governance could be very costly.