Putting the cyber threat domain into context

Things are rapidly changing in the cyber threat domain.

Things are rapidly changing in the cyber threat domain. Those who are concerned about cyber conflict FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) are either having their voices drowned out or have softened their objections and criticisms. Originally, many critics claimed that cyber threats were being used as a marketing campaign to drive sales of security products or as a political strategy to produce new laws or increased military funding. As cyber threats have rapidly evolved over the past two decades, individuals, organizations, governments and many other groups have publically acknowledged being attacked and disclosed the damage that resulted. Now, reports of cyberattacks and system breaches are all too common in the print media, on the web and on TV. Acknowledgement of the problem even made it into President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Cyberattacks and their economic impact are being felt in businesses of all sizes. We have begun to see the private sector conduct their own international investigations, which have led to the conclusion that militaries of foreign governments are likely responsible for many of these attacks. We have also seen the private sector retaliate with their own cyber fire after their computer systems were attacked by foreign servers.

It doesn’t matter if it is a criminal act, a terrorist act or an act of aggression from a rogue nation-state, current cyberattacks lead many to believe that this is the biggest threat to nations around the world. Although new and innovative ways to counter this growing threat are being developed, the complexity, frequency and impact of attacks have all increased and will continue to grow as new tools and techniques for conducting cyber attacks evolve at a pace much faster than our cyber defenses. This has many in government, institutions of higher learning and think tanks worldwide searching for answers.

There have even been claims of a global cyber arms race. Analysts forecast that the U.S. federal cyber security sector will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.2 percent during the next five years. More and more we are seeing the threats that are all too abundant in the cyber domain compared with those of the Cold War. Back to 2008 there were reports of a cyber Manhattan Project.

Without question, this comparison has some value. However, a Manhattan Project-type cyber program should not be the only tool used in determining our threat posture, intelligence demand, and defensive and offensive cyber capabilities. Given the ineffectiveness of Cold War military/arms monitoring techniques, the extremely low price of cyber weapons, and the ease with which cyber weapons can be distributed worldwide, this is a much more difficult problem to address.

Up until now the approach to cyber threat reduction has mainly been defensive. But it still takes days or weeks to respond to new threats when the threat demands a near-real-time response. The United States is the most innovative nation in the world. In fact, we are much better than what we have shown thus far in combating cyber threats. The U.S. needs the best, brightest and most creative minds in our country to come together and address this complex challenge.

The staring contest between China, Russia and the U.S. cannot go on much longer – someone has to blink. If not, then a cyber war between these superpowers is inevitable. While having discussions after speaking at an event for intelligence professionals one attendee told me, “Anyone who claims they can accurately predict the outcome is not only wrong, they are foolish, as this is a far-too-complex domain with so many unknowns that a prediction is not possible.” It is difficult to imagine having all the intelligence that would be necessary to be that sure of the outcome.

Privacy, funding, technological and political issues have combined to create a challenge for our leaders that is unprecedented. We have some hard choices to make that will directly impact our national security and the security of the systems that run our businesses and economy. Let’s all hope we make the right choices.

NEXT STORY: Differing Opinions on Cyber Threat

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.