Thursday, December 11, 2008

Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff speaks about cybersecurity strategy


Today Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security, gave a brief lecture “Cyberspace and National Security” and the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, link here. He was introduced by AFCEA president Kent Schnieder. Most of the audience consisted of uniformed military officers.

Chertoff opened with a mention of how Estonia’s Internet was brought down, and how the Russian invasion of Georgia was manipulated in cyberspace. He mentioned a possible breach that could have exposed 40 million financial account holders. The problem seemed to have to do with a problem involving domain name integrity deep within the Internet, but it could have caused further loss of confidence in financial institutions, already an issue with the financial crisis.

He said that national cybersecurity policy should stress three areas: (1) front lines of defense and firewalls; (2) anticipating the full range of possible threats (3) understanding the social environment, such as disgruntled employees and (by inference) asymmetry. He stressed the nature of a public-private partnership.

He posed, in answer to an audience question, the legal question as to whether an international cyberattack is an act of war, and said that is a good question for lawyers.

An audience member asked about a possible Russian attack on DOD, which apparently has not been made public.

Also, the Second Annual Online Safety Conference “Safe at Any Speed: Rules, Tools and Public Policies to Keep Kids Safe Online” was held at the Newseum recently and shown on C-span, link here. I’ll look more into this shortly.

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