In recent years, it has become clear that the world of cybersecurity is rapidly changing — cyberattacks are not only growing in volume, but also in complexity. As chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, I've convened hearings and publicly questioned private corporations to determine what protections and practices they have in place to better protect their customers' personal and financial data.
"Cybersecurity 2018: Online Security and Safety in Government, Industry and Civil Society" is a Special Report published by The Washington Times Special Sections Department and Salute to Veterans.
The Internal Revenue system is using a nearly 60-year-old computer code to process tax returns and to maintain highly sensitive taxpayer information.
"Our dependence on connected technology is growing faster than our ability to secure it — in areas affecting public safety and human life." — @iamthecavalry
The Salute to Veterans Series delves into the top issues that our veterans and troops face daily. The TV series features vibrant discussions and provides advice and solutions from distinguished veterans who are also successful businessmen, community leaders and were accomplished college and/or professional football athletes: Rocky Bleier, Bryce Fisher and Greg Gadson.
Relentless threats from increasingly sophisticated attackers. Organized crime and rogue nation-states. Hacktivism and new mechanisms of compromise. Many years ago, the prospect of these security challenges seemed like something out of James Bond. Now I defend organizations from these threats every minute of every day.
There really isn't anything quite like American innovation. What makes U.S. innovation so different is that it's not just one field or sector; it's an ethos that inspires business across the country. Whether it's due to Americans' work ethic, an entrepreneurial spirit or a framework that allows innovators to succeed, the United States is second to none when it comes to creating technology that improves our daily lives.
On Jan. 30, President Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address to Congress. The purpose of this constitutionally sanctioned speech is to reflect on the challenges facing our country and policies to address them. One challenge that must not be ignored is the ongoing threat of cyberattacks to our personal security.
In 2018, our security can no longer exclusively be defined in terms of tanks, airplanes and weapon systems.
Cybercrime is an unfortunate reality in our world today. It is something that has become common language, and many Americans have become fatigued and numb to the continuous cyberthreats.
Our world is increasingly reliant on the cyber domain and the connections that it creates. We live in a world where the "internet of things" includes the smartphones and computers we use every day and also seemingly benign objects such as factory robots and appliances in our homes. This digital connection to the world around us brings great convenience, efficiency and prosperity, but vulnerability accompanies it.
After Hurricane Harvey struck southeast Texas in August, a network of Good Samaritans who call themselves the Cajun Navy took to social media to help organize relief efforts. Airbnb's Homes program connected hosts with people in need of emergency shelter. And Lyft added the American Red Cross to its Round Up & Donate feature, letting riders contribute to relief efforts.
In today's digital age, nearly every service imaginable is available through a couple of quick clicks on an app or a website. We can order food or groceries right to our doorsteps, we can call a ride to the airport, or we can pay for a parking spot — all within seconds. But this convenience comes with inherent risk — living one's life in the digital age means trusting your sensitive information with outside applications, organizations and vendors.
In this daily deluge of information that shapes our American way of life, we continue to see headline after headline of cyberattacks affecting our trusted government agencies, commercial corporations — large and small — and in some cases, our very own personal data.
In early December of 2017, world technology leaders assembled in Wuzhen, China, for the 4th Annual World Internet Conference. It was a widely attended event and included the chief executive officers of Apple and Google. The theme of the conference was "developing a digital economy of openness and shared benefits."
In today's world, we have all been to cyberspace and enjoyed the many conveniences this global domain has added to our lives. But did you know that cyberspace has been declared the fifth domain of warfare? Just like it does in our own lives, cyberspace provides interconnectivity and communications between the other four domains of war — air, land, sea and space. Therefore, an enemy doesn't need extensive ground troops or nuclear weapons to take on the United States. All that's needed are a few inexpensive tools, some knowledge and skill, and access to our networks where the cost of entry is almost nonexistent.
I come from Estonia, a country that is known for Skype and the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence, as well as for being the first country in the world to introduce e-government, e-taxation, e-voting and a thousand other e-services. These are all part of what we call our e-lifestyle.
The right to defend yourself and your property applies in today's increasingly connected world, just as it did more than 200 years ago. While the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms, the threats we face today are changing, just as the way we interact with people, data and content are changing. As individuals, companies and countries, we must be increasingly on guard and behaviors need to shift away from reactionary defense towards an always prepared and secure posture, much the way we've seen with homeland security and traditional national defense.
At first, "Cozy-Bear," "Fancy-Bear" and "Gucifer 2.0" may sound like characters out of a science fiction thriller. But on June 15, 2016, we learned that these were the names associated with Russian groups who hacked into campaign committee computer networks. The following week, Wikileaks published 20,000 emails from the hack, which exposed the cybersecurity vulnerabilities of our democratic institutions for all Americans to witness.
Speaking at CyCon U.S., General Mark Milley challenged the audience's younger members to take up the mantle of cyber leadership. "That rock is going to go in your rucksack, and we are counting on you for the future." The need for innovative programs to train our future cyber leaders is apparent to the U.S. Army chief of staff and many national-level leaders. The problem is not limited to the military: In a borderless domain, cyberthreats don't distinguish between military and civilian networks. Nor is the problem solely technological: The Army chief also pointed out the moral, legal and ethical concerns brought on by advances in artificial intelligence and autonomous battlefield systems.
Challenges posed by cybercrime are one of the most frightening threats our country faces today.
Imagine: @realDonaldTrump has been hacked and the latest missive from the president's Twitter account announces imminent airstrikes on Genovia. Foreign militaries scramble, and the potential for an accidental escalation of conflict is suddenly very real.
America's counties employ 3.6 million employees who serve some 308 million county residents. Counties play a significant role in every aspect of our lives — including hospitals and clinics, roads, bridges, airports and other infrastructure, public safety and courts — and are largely responsible for local and federal elections administration. Counties provide vital services to all Americans, from issuing birth certificates and marriage licenses, to operating 911 call centers. While balancing numerous administrative responsibilities, counties deliver essential services to ensure healthy, vibrant and safe communities across the United States.
I worked for two small businesses in the early 2000s. I was responsible for managing a Network and Security Operations Center that monitored and managed several federal agencies' networks and systems — an environment that was much different than it is today. We focused on changes to the operating environment — internal threats. However, we operated in an environment where more than 50 percent of American households had internet access. The sophistication of the security tools at that time was limited, so threats like the Sapphire worm were able to infect hundreds of thousands of computers in less than three hours.
Cybersecurity jobs are grounded in patriotism. Every single day, businesses and government entities across the nation are being targeted and breached by opportunists (with varying motives) who identify vulnerabilities and take advantage of those vulnerabilities, leaving a wake of victims in their path.
While we wait for Robert Mueller to wrap up his investigation into President Trump's pre-election dealings with Russians, let's remember how we got here. The Russian Government compromised the emails of U.S. political organizations and used the information to damage the Clinton campaign. Punishing any potential violations of U.S. law that enabled this effort is important, so why is the Trump administration doing so little to beef up our nation's ability to investigate and apprehend cybercriminals?
Over the past century there have been tremendous improvements in our ability to use and defend cyber systems. Technology itself has changed drastically from our heavy vacuum tube computers in the 1950s to the world we see today, teeming with mobile devices, the Internet of Things, Cloud computing — and the next big idea.
On March 23, 2016, Su Bin, a Chinese national, pled guilty to a criminal conspiracy involving hacking into the networks of key American defense contractors, stealing critical military data and then sending that information back to China. The data he stole involved programs such as the C-17 strategic airlifter as well as advanced American fighter jets. This operation was just one in a series of recent high-profile, cyber espionage campaigns against U.S. military targets.
The following is an excerpt from "iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age."
Everyone agrees on the need for strong cybersecurity policy. Each month, we see headlines telling of high-profile hacks and expansive bugs that threaten our nation's commerce, privacy and even our safety. But there is much disagreement on how best to proceed.
2017 was a spectacular year for cyberattacks, including some previous ones only recently and reluctantly disclosed by embarrassed victims. They include a veritable who's who of government, business and technology, including some of the world's most technically sophisticated organizations.