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A Long, Hot Summer for Corporate Cybersecurity
During a summer in which the head of the National Security Agency revealed that cyberattacks on business and government have increased 1700 percentand in which said NSA chief openly invited hackers to join forces with the U.S. government at a conference in Vegasso did a highly anticipated piece of cybersecurity legislation meet a bitter end. Both of which should be turning the heads of corporate risk officers.
"The chamber believes [the bill] could actually impede U.S. cybersecurity by shifting businesses' resources away from implementing robust and effective security measures and toward meeting government mandates," Bruce Josten, the Chamber's chief lobbyist, wrote in a letter to senators Tuesday.
To U.S. intelligence officials, that made no sense: "It's incomprehensible why they are opposing it," White House counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan told the L.A. Times. "It's not grounded in facts nor in national security concerns."
Unfortunately, we do not dictate the terms of the cyber war we are in, and the tempo of the fight does not slow down to wait for Congress to act. Cyber threats pose a significant risk to our national security as well as our nations critical infrastructure and our economy. Every day, government and private networks are being attacked. Valuable information is being stolen from American companies, making them weaker and less competitive.
In an opinion round-up of three Silicon Valley experts, Mark Seward, senior security director at the data security firm Splunk, told NYTs Bits blog that passing cybersecurity legislation is the difference between whether we whether we want to be a third world country or a first world country. He continued:
The resilience of our infrastructures ability to resist an attack is the mark of a first world country. Not being able to trust that water is going to come out of the tap, or that when I light my stove natural gas is going to come out, is a real problem in a first world country. A cyberattack could literally mean that the things we most take for granted wont be available.
And over at The Huffington Post, former NSA computer scientist Dan Aitelnow the CEO of cybersecurity firm Immunity Inc.tackled two big arguments against the bill:
1. It Creates an Unfair Cost for Businesses: . . . Private companies will have to adopt these defensive solutions any way to protect their own operations and profitsand, believe me, the downtime, damage and litigation costs resulting from a sophisticated cyber attack far outweigh the expense of securing your networks to begin with.
In the meantime, it appears the White House might not wait around for a legislative solution. As The Hill reports, the Obama Administration is considering an executive order, which could take up key points in the bill, such as requiring regulated industries to meet certain security standards. "You don't need new legislative authority to do that," Jim Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Hill.