(WATCH) Cyberspace Threats

It is widely recognized that a cyberattack is one of our biggest national security concerns and threats. But I will bet most of you did not know a first-of-its kind commission to develop a national strategy recently finished two years of work. It is the Cyberspace Solarium Commission— the name based on President Eisenhower’s Project Solarium, which developed new policies for the Cold War. Senator Angus King was a co-chair of the cyber body and today speaks with me about its mission.

Sen. Angus King: Our response to cyberattacks had been sort of disjointed and all over the place. The idea was, “Let’s take a comprehensive look at this problem and figure out what we need to do.” And the commission had a unique structure that I think contributed to its success. We had four sitting members of Congress, bipartisan, we had four people from the executive branch, and then we had six from the private sector. But the basic idea was to set up a structure that would give us a definition of a cyber strategy for the country.

Sharyl: Can you highlight some of the biggest recommendations that have been implemented and also some of the recommendations that haven’t, that you think are important?

King: Yeah. I think one of the most important ones that we made was the creation of what’s called a National Cyber Director, appointed by the president and the executive office of the president, confirmed by the Senate. Why? Because cyber is scattered all over the federal government in half a dozen or more agencies. There was a lack of coordination. President Biden appointed a fellow named Chris Inglis, who was a member of our commission, to that job. He’s in the job now, and he’s fabulous. Ones that haven’t been implemented yet that, frankly I’m disappointed, I was hoping we were going to be able to do them this year in the defense bill is improvements in the infrastructure for the relationship between the private sector and the government. In cyber, 85% of the target space is in the private sector: airlines, banks, the energy grid, pipeline systems — that’s where the attacks come and will come. So, the federal government can help, but there has to be a relationship, a new kind of relationship of trust and mutual information sharing. Unfortunately, we ran into some jurisdictional battles between committees. And frankly, it was pretty frustrating for me because we’re talking about national security.

Sharyl: Based on what you’ve learned and what you know the last couple of years, what are your major concerns when it comes to adversaries like China and Russia in cyberspace?

King: Boy. There’s a whole series. One is the danger of a catastrophic cyberattack. If the grid goes down in New England in February, people will die. Oil burners don’t fire without electricity. It will be catastrophic. Same thing with the financial system, pipelines. I mean, water systems is very vulnerable. There are 70,000 separate water systems in America. And all it takes is a cyberattack on a medium sized water system to change the chemistry, close a valve, that kind of thing. It would be incredibly dangerous. So, there’s a whole hierarchy of problems. But here’s the reality. The next 9/11 will be cyber. And right now, we’re not ready for it, but we’re getting there. We’re working on things like continuity, the economy. How do we get back? We’re working on prevention. We’re working on deterrence. We’re working on how to strengthen the cyber hygiene of the private sector without regulation, but with encouragement. And so, like I say, I think we’re way better than we were two or three years ago, but we’re not there yet.

Sharyl (on-camera): The Cyberspace Solarium Commission finished its two-year mission at the end of 2021. About half of its 60 recommendations were passed into law. It’s continuing on as a nonprofit to try to get the rest of them enacted.

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2 thoughts on “(WATCH) Cyberspace Threats”

  1. one rarely learns of cyber attacks. don’t know that i’ve ever read of one in the news, haven’t turned on the tv in years, the last time my wife and i tried we had to call the cable company for instructions to do so…but i do know that five or six vinyl window manufacturers collectively owned by a larger conglomerate were subject to a million-dollar ransom on or about august 2020 and around the same time a much smaller forestry company was subject to a…was it $40,000 ransom. i’d hazard that ransom happens much more frequently than anyone knows and the likelihood of a positive resolution is as unknown. and then there’s all the variations of fraud and one hears more about them, either warnings from law enforcement, or tales of victims. nobody is looking for a one-armed man. when the lights go out it will be too late.

  2. Prostitution is illegal? Big tech companies is responsible for all this, if you get rid of the way they engineered these federal criminal devices and App Browsers and search engines that promote data laundering by all these groups of people hiding in background you wouldn’t have 70% of all this Federal cyber Criminal activities? Tech companies lying to congress saying they need to engineer this way to gather your user info for user experiences. When really there trading and selling your info as well as Data Brokers able to hide in background of your Browsers and apps doing same kinds of things putting your system and user info and intellectual property and or companies Files at high Risk for Breaching by others !. Did it ever occur to you people if all these people are allowed to attach tracking cookies and temp widgets and so on in the backside of your browsers and websites then there putting you at High Risk for hacking and other Malicious Cyber crimes ? = Joint conspirator enablers ? You have any idea How many Billions this activity costs America every year ? We should make Big tech right a check for half of America’s debt for the past 18 years because of there Stupidity in Engineering in my opinion… I find all this a Brocken record that Fails to change for the past 18 years … Proof example ? If Norton Antivirus can protect you a Bit better than Big techs engineering of O.S. systems and Browsers than what does that tell you ? ( Monkeys on a rope Turning tricks while Big tech is turning the music box of O.S. Engineering Data Laundering Users Experiences ? ) Ha! Ha! Ha! “Boy How you like that in Criminal Corporate Law ? “Thanks Mr. Obvious we never made the Connections ?

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