Digital Conflict

By Kevin Coleman

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Kevin Coleman

Accurately stating the cyber threat situation

Much criticism has been levied against those sounding the alarm about the cyber-threat level. Whether it is a report that more than 26 million strains of malware were released in 2011or comments about cyber threats by Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of U.S. Cyber Command, skeptics are quick to dismiss the assertions claiming they are self serving.

In the past few months, high-level Obama administration officials along with leading experts from the cybersecurity industry have become increasingly vocal and tried to sound a cyber alarm. Most recently in an interview former counter-terrorism czar Richard Clark said, “I’m about to say something that people think is an exaggeration, but I think the evidence is pretty strong--every major company in the United States has already been penetrated by China.” Add to that the comments by FBI Director Robert Mueller that cyber threats would surpass terrorism as the country’s top concern.

People with a security clearance and a need to know have insights based on information that is not public. The Washington Post in 2011 reported that more than 4.2 million people have security clearances for access to classified information.  Many of these individuals have provided their insight to Congress, and there are multiple pieces of regulations working through the legislative process that address this threat.

Many of those who criticize those sounding the alarm are quick to dismiss the need for regulations. They often say, “Show me the intelligence, so I can see if the warnings are justified." While I agree some things do not need to be restricted or classified, there are reasons much of this information is classified and not publicly available. The threat is real, and the clock is ticking. We need to accelerate our risk mitigation efforts.

Posted by Defense Systems Staff on Apr 05, 2012 at 12:54 PM


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