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Preventing a Cyber Attack: The $100 Million Question

Monday, August 2, 2010 | 3:20 PM Leave a comment Go to comments

What can two years and $100 million buy you these days?  The ability to win a cyber war.

…Or so says cyber expert Charlie Miller, who, according to the AFP, announced his security findings on Saturday at the Defcon hackers’ convention in Las Vegas.

Speaking on the topic of potential cyber attack scenarios, Miller, a former NSA researcher, said that with 100 million dollars and two years’ time, it would be “easy” to craft a cyber invasion to bring down US infrastructure and the nation’s defenses.

“I already knew it was easy, but now I know in detail how easy it would be,” said Miller.  “We are certainly very vulnerable.”

Adding to Miller’s comments, Mark Harding, president of the National Security Corporation, warned, “There are people I know who have indicated they can take the entire Internet down and they can… But, they don’t because they believe in doing no damage and not taking anything that isn’t theirs. It’s when you lack a skill set of morality and discipline when you end up on the dark side.”

And in further keeping the nation from a “dark side” invasion, Government Computer News reports, “One of the biggest challenges remaining in securing the nation’s information infrastructure is ensuring the cooperation of government, which has responsibility for the nation’s defense, with the private sector, which owns and operates the majority of the critical systems.”

Meanwhile, it seems one public-to-private partnership may already be in the works.  According to a report by Federal News Radio, Verizon and the US Secret Service have teamed up to take a closer look at cybersecurity.

Noting the collaboration, a press release issued by Verizon, announced that the joint effort “enabled this year’s Data Breach Investigations Report to provide an expanded view of data breaches over the last six years. With the addition of Verizon’s 2009 caseload and data contributed by the Secret Service – which investigates financial crimes – the report covers 900-plus breaches involving more than 900 million compromised records.”

But in finding a solution to information breaches and issues of cybersecurity, cyber expert Philip Reitinger advised, “People shouldn’t expect miracles from cybersecurity strategy.”

According to an article published by Washington Technology, Reitinger, deputy undersecretary of DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate, addressed a conference in Washington last week to point out, “We don’t need a new strategy; we need to evolve our strategy and focus on implementation, we need to make a difference now, day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year.”

Additional cybersecurity news follows:

House Cybersecurity Caucus announces website (NextGov)

Conference wrap-up: Apple, Google, BP and others spill sensitive data on the phone (Forbes)

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) wants $10 million for new center (Government Computer News)

Sen. Whitehouse (D-RI): Public key to preventing cyber crime (The Providence Journal)

Feds seek right role for protecting .com domain (Federal News Radio)

Government, private sector work on cybersecurity (NPR)

Cyber camp aims to keep computer whizzes from the dark side (The Press-Enterprise)

American Chemistry Council throws support behind Lieberman, Collins, Carper cybersecurity legislation (Press Release via TMCNet)

CACI issues cyber report (Executive Biz)

Maryland eyes $15M for cybersecurity endeavors (The Business Gazette)

Wanted: Cybersecurity pros (Baltimore Sun)

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