Cyberspace is the new battlespace

“Cyberattacks on and within our nation occur daily, hourly, and by the minute. Scores of them have occurred since I walked into this building a few minutes ago. No one is immune. The cyber threat to our nation is going to get worse before it gets better,” former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said Wednesday, 7 March 2018, at the Boston Conference on Cybersecurity. “Bad cyber actors, ranging from nation-states, cybercriminals, hacktivists and those who engage in the growing Ransomware industry—are increasingly aggressive, ingenious, and tenacious. Those of us on defense struggle to keep up.”

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson delivered this talk on Wednesday, 7 March 2018, at the Boston Conference on Cybersecurity:

Given my prior experience at the Defense Department, I came to the Department of Homeland Security with a counterterrorism orientation. I said many times that counterterrorism is the reason DHS was created, and it had to remain the cornerstone of the Department’s mission. I quickly came to realize that a building can have more than one cornerstone, and that cybersecurity must constitute another.

Cyberattacks on and within our nation occur daily, hourly, and by the minute. Scores of them have occurred since I walked into this building a few minutes ago. No one is immune. The cyber threat to our nation is going to get worse before it gets better.

Bad cyber actors, ranging from nation-states, cybercriminals, hacktivists and those who engage in the growing Ransomware industry—are increasingly aggressive, ingenious, and tenacious. Those of us on defense struggle to keep up.

Cyberspace is the new battlespace.

History will record that the Obama administration, at the personal insistence of the president, made tangible improvements to our nation’s and the U.S. government’s cybersecurity. At DHS, we established automated real-time information sharing with the private sector, and deployed the new EINSTEIN 3A system across all civilian agencies of the U.S.government. President Obama issued Presidential Policy Directive 41, clarifying the roles of the various federal agencies in cybersecurity. In September 2015, we secured from the Chinese government its agreement to abstain from cyber-enabled theft of trade secrets for competitive advantage—an agreement that experts say the Chinese appear to have largely adhered to. We worked with Congress to enact the Cybersecurity Act of 2015.

But there is much more to do.

In 2012, my former boss, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, gave a speech at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City in which he predicted a “cyber Pearl Harbor.” At the time, I thought Leon was being a little overly dramatic in his language. Now, six years later, I realize Leon could have been right.

 

Read more at Homeland Security Newswire.