The President

Obama’s Cybersecurity Initiative: Substance? Or Hot Air?

Success of the President's proposed cyber legislation hinges on the willingness of corporations to share their data with the government.  But why would a company want to share data with the government? While the Sony hack was shocking to most, it’s unlikely that corporations will be willing to trust the government with their customers most sensitive data. For one, businesses owe a duty to their customers to maintain their data in accordance with their agreements with and expectations of their customers.  Also, despite billions of dollars in funding, the federal bureaucracy has failed to meet its own federal cybersecurity standards. Using data from General Accounting Office, George Mason University researchers found that in 2006, there were more than 5,503 cyber-breaches on federal IT systems, in 2013 - 61,213 cyber-breaches. Since 2002, the federal government has had its own legislation similar to the one proposed by the President last week, and despite $78.8 billion in funding, the number of IT security breaches has increased more than 10 times since 2006. Critics argue criminalizing cybercrime will not prevent what Americans fear - industrial espionage and oversea hackers. Summary of President’s proposal: 1.      Cyber information sharing between private sector and government, with liability protection for companies 2.      Expanding RICO to include cyber-crime 3.      Criminalizing the sale of botnets and the sale of banking information overseas 4.      Greater restrictions on selling spyware 5.      Gives Courts the authority to shut down botnets engaged in distributed denial of service attacks and other criminal activity 6.      Making rogue insiders punishable by the CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) 7.      Uniform national data breach notification - 30 days within attack 8.      Establish a consumer policy bill of rights Additionally, critics argue that the law could hinder U.S. internet users who have no intention of committing cybercrimes but who may be out of compliance with a U.S. judgment in an effort to debilitate cybercrime. What is lacking from this bill is a mechanism that actively seeks out global cyber threats; and while the new legislation may reign in domestic cybercriminals - it does nothing to relieve our increasing threat - rapidly emerging economies with no form of legal redress for victims of cybercrimes. Despite bills that promise to reign in cybercriminals, it remains incumbent on companies to strengthen their own defenses.

SOTU Watch: Obama Cybersecurity Boost

SOTU Watch: Obama Cybersecurity Boost   With great expectation that Cyber Policy will be a significant focus of the upcoming State of the Union address (SOTU) – more than any other of this administration’s past SOTUs – we feature our SOTU Watch series leading up to, during, and after January 20th’s main event.   Earlier this week, President Barack Obama vowed to introduce three new pieces of legislation aimed at providing online protections for consumers and students. Obama labeled the new legislation the “consumer privacy bill of rights” and promised that his proposals aim to protect consumer privacy and “ensure that private industry can keep innovating.”   President Obama is launching this program at a time when consumers and industry leaders are still coming to terms with the devastating hack of Sony Entertainment this past December, among other high-profile breaches. Ironically, on Monday the Administration witnessed another embarrassing example of the potential power of hackers when people claiming to be supporters of ISIS took control of the Pentagon’s social media accounts scoring a propaganda move for the group.   President Obama outlined three new pieces of legislation:   A consumer privacy bill of rights, a set of rules about how technology companies can use and store sensitive information about their consumers.   A set of standards as for when a company must reveal that it has been breached and when a credit card or bank is breached - at present states have their own rules.   A bill that would place limits on data that is collected on students using technology in the classroom.   In theory these are uncontroversial ideas, but the politics of cybersecurity in the United States is not so clear cut. Especially since the Edward Snowden incident pitted privacy activist against the government security establishment. Additionally, it unclear whether Republicans share the same definition of “cybersecurity” as the President. While google and yahoo lobby budgets continue to grow, it will be interesting to see just what shape a “cybersecurity” definition will take. Nevertheless, President Obama says that he hopes that Congress will join him in making his proposed laws the law of the land.

Sony Hacking – A Matter of U.S. National Security? You Betcha.

What may have first appeared to most to be of the type of data breach we’ve grown accustomed to hearing about, this one’s different – or is it? While much of the early media attention to the Sony hacking story morphed into salacious coverage of the details of embarrassing emails and the inner workings of Hollywood, the coverage is shifting back to the undeniable national security implications that this incident exposed.  As we’ve covered in previous posts and feature articles, there is an underlying theme of national security that each private industry data breach touches on U.S. economic survival.   As has been reported, the United States is now seeking China's help "to cripple" North Korean cyber offensive capabilities. The New York Times reported this morning that U.S. preparedness for an incident such as this may not be as one may think.  A must-read, the NYT story describes the Sony hack as “the first major, state-sponsored destructive computer-network attacks on American soil.” The story continues by identifying the many difficulties facing a U.S. “proportional response.” Included is the “concern over the risk of escalation with North Korea, since the United States has far more vulnerable targets, from its power grid to its financial markets, than North Korea.”   While the Obama Administration and the Department of Defense have taken steps to build a stable cyber defense mechanism (see Naval Academy Cyber Security CenterUS Cyber Command, etc.), these defense mechanisms have yet to be integrated in any meaningful way with private industry. The Administration blames the attack on North Korea, but North Korea denies any wrongdoing, even going as far as proclaiming its interest in helping the United States get to the bottom of what happened and help find the perpetrators.

Section 215 Bulk Telephony Metadata Collection Program: Is the end in sight?

By Schawn-Paul Rotella   Earlier this year President Obama announced his intention to end the government's Bulk Telephony Metadata Collection Program. In its stead, the program will have the government’s responsibilities handed over to the telephone companies that operate inside of the United States. Here is how Section 215

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Intersection of Development and Cyber Security Worldwide

By James Long - In his weekly address to the nation, President Obama announced the launch of two new high-technology manufacturing hubs in Raleigh, North Carolina and Youngstown, Ohio. These hubs are intended to serve as centers for collaboration amongst companies and universities, as well

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Cyber Policy and the State of the Union

By Sarah Austin - President Obama’s speech to the American people during his State of the Union address took a much different tone toward technology and cyber policy than we’re used to seeing.   While we may be used to the President focusing on the need for technological advancements and calling for a larger investment in Information Technology, he only briefly mentioned the recent success of these efforts.

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