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New Report Examines the Future of Cyber

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 | 8:55 AM Leave a comment Go to comments

As data breaches and cyber attack threats continue to rise, it’s clear the cybersecurity market is booming. But with cyber legislation still stalled on Capitol Hill and an executive order from President Obama still looming, everyone from government officials to government contractors and corporate executives alike are considering their own measures to manage cybersecurity.

In a new, special report, the Washington Post took a deeper look at emerging cybersecurity opportunities, policies, procedures and threats for both the public and private sectors.

Cyber Opportunities

As federal budgets get sliced across the board, government technology contractors have started exploring new sales opportunities outside of their typical federal territories.

With approximately 85 percent of the nation’s critical infrastructure owned by the private sector, contractors like ManTech International and Booz Allen Hamilton are now offering commercial cybersecurity products and services, expanding their reach to health care, financial, energy and utilities industries, according to the Post report.

“Cyber can’t be solved by the government alone, nor can it be solved by private industry,” Mark Gerencser, executive vice president of commercial business at Booz Allen Hamilton, told the Post.

But while accommodating both sectors may seem profitable and ideal for some government contractors, others worry that selling commercially could complicate pricing and violate terms of government clearances.

Cyber Training

With hackers continuously finding new tools and techniques to exploit vulnerabilities, many companies are considering training programs for employees to prevent them from falling victim to phishing schemes and other attacks, according to a separate article within the report.

“The weakest link has always been the individual,” Dave Papas, chief operating officer at QinetiQ North America’s Cyveillance, told the Post. “Once I can compromise one individual within an organization, I then can potentially compromise everyone.”

Cyber Compensation

But beyond employee training, it’s cybersecurity expertise that’s in high demand, according to the cyber special.

With too few qualified cybersecurity professionals, many government contractors and companies are being forced to fork over larger salaries to compete for new cyber hires, particularly for candidates with security clearance.

“The need for cyber professionals across all industries is likely to continue to surge in the near future, hiring professionals say, and so, too, is the imperative to vie for talent,” the report suggests.

Cyberwar

Defense is also becoming a key component in stacking the cyber deck. As nation states hack into networks to gain classified government information and corporate trade secrets of their enemies and allies alike, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking at new programs and IT platforms to better defend itself in the event of cyberwar.

Known as Plan X, the Post report advised that DARPA is working with experts from industry and academia to craft “high-level mission plans” and working to build cyber “battle units” should a cyberwar arise.

The “new frontier,” as the Post deems it, is also causing government to evaluate its own cyber offensive capabilities in a hack-before-hacked approach.

But Richard Clarke, former White House cybersecurity advisor under President George W. Bush, told the Post, “At the end of the day, the obligation of the U.S. government is to defend first and, until we get that right, we shouldn’t be running around attacking other people.”

Ethical Hacking

While the threat of cyberwar may be on the horizon, some cyber experts are taking up new opportunities as “ethical hackers,” according to an article within the report titled: “To catch a hacker, it pays to think like a hacker.”

Taking courses to learn the lingo and tricks of the trade of the “bad guy” hackers, ethical hackers are able to identify unforeseen holes and vulnerabilities before they are exploited and, in some cases, are able to catch suspected culprits before they do the hacking.

“It’s a cat-and-mouse game,” Frank Bentz, an ethical hacker and chief information security officer at Sandy Spring Bank told the Post. “You’re always trying to figure out where this is headed next.”

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Following are some additional cyber headlines you may have missed:

FEDERAL NEWS:

Cybersecurity could be casualty of sequester ax (Politico)

General: Nation needs DHS involved in cybersecurity (The Hill)

Survey: CyberScope, CyberStat not helping agencies (FierceGovIT)

NIST to hold 8th annual IT security automation conference (Federal News Radio)

Sen. Mikulski joins chorus calling for cybersecurity executive order (The Hill)

INDUSTRY OVERVIEW:

Tenable enters partnership with In-Q-Tel (Washington Post)

Oracle login vulnerability can expose data in some databases (TechWorld)

Symantec UK CTO warns of growing risk from Persistent Threat attacks (V3)

Lockheed Martin names Verizon its newest Cyber Security Alliance member (Press Release)

INTERNATIONAL  OUTLOOK:

Iran readies domestic Internet system, blocks Google (Reuters)

International law takes on cyber: significant challenges ahead (The Hill)

Iran has never launched cyber attack on US banks: official (Tehran Times)

US, Russian experts turn up volume on cyber security alarms (The News International)

Canada aware of two cyber attacks, won’t say if China involved (Reuters)

HACKING HIGHLIGHTS:

Hacker: I’ve ported Google Maps to iOS 6 (CNET)

New hacker group emerges in response to anti-Islamic film (PCMag)

Wells Fargo is latest victim in cyber attack spree (Los Angeles Times)

American banks undamaged by cyber attacks (New York Times)

CYBER INSIGHTS:

Editorial: Obama’s Cyber Attack (Wall Street Journal)

Just how hackable is your digital life? (PCWorld)

Is DHS ready to take the lead on cybersecurity? (FCW)

Air Force chief, ex-FBI agent: Cybersecurity policy can’t wait (CIO)

Mobile malware up 185% amid a lack of consumer awareness (Infosec Magazine)

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This report is also featured on ClearanceJobs.com athttp://www.clearancejobs.com/defense-news/904/cybersecurity-news-round-up-new-report-examines-cyber-frontier-career-opportunities

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