DHS Secretary Napolitano: Cybersecurity is a Collaborative Effort
Attaining an Internet that is both open and secure is a challenge that must be confronted, US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stated on Thursday.
“Cyberspace is fundamentally a civilian space,” Napolitano said during a keynote speech before a cybersecurity forum at the National Press Club. “And government has a role to help protect it.”
But according to Napolitano, that role should extend beyond DHS and other federal agencies and into the private sector, as well, where she said new public-private partnerships are already being formed to protect control systems that operate the nation’s critical infrastructure.
Noting that teams have been deployed to work with and respond to cyber incidents, Napolitano said DHS has extended its partnerships to reach chemical plants, communications systems and systems controlling the nation’s electric, water and utilities in its latest cybersecurity efforts.
“At the same time, I recognize that much more needs to be done in this critical area,” Napolitano stated. “We need to be working together to create a national culture that provides that [Internet] users at every level know that they are part of a system and know what they need to do to help protect security… users, businesses, technology industry, government, everybody has a role.”
Napolitano also extended her cyber reach out to Congress and academia, where she said a more transparent and inclusive cybersecurity policymaking process and more higher education programs are needed, “so that we have policymakers who understand technology, but we also have technologists who understand policy.”
Including DHS’ National Cybersecurity Challenge, the “Stop. Think. Connect.” Campaign, the deployment of Einstein 2 and the launch of the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in her list of the Department’s accomplishments over the past year, Napolitano went on to add, “It is our goal to build one of the best teams that we can to tackle the cybersecurity challenge, but this has got to be a team effort. No single agency or industry, quite frankly, can manage it.”
And while reasserting that it will be a challenge to continue to build partnerships and to keep the Internet open but also secure, in her closing statement Napolitano added, “Those are the kinds challenges our country has confronted before, and by putting our best minds together, that’s how we have met those challenges. This one may be bigger, more complex and may require more of our effort than anything we’ve ever dealt with, but we’re going to have to make sure that we deal with it the right way because we’re laying the foundation for our future.”