NSA deputy proposes dedicated U.S. cybersecurity team
Wed 19 Oct 2016
At a speech at a public policy think tank, a senior officer at the U.S. National Security Agency urged the government to rethink their cybersecurity strategy as a whole, and find a way to unite separate departments to create a cohesive security policy to combat cybercrime.
Curtis Dukes, the NSA Deputy National Manager for National Security Systems, gave a speech at the American Enterprise Institute that focused on the past 24 months of cybersecurity breaches, including high-profile incidents at the Office for Personnel Management (OPM) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
In a question and answer period following his speech, Mr. Dukes addressed the issues that create difficulties in inter-agency cooperation to combat cybercrime effectively. Managing the response requirements of different departments that are involved in cybercrime creates a delay of days or even up to a week in responding to a cyberattack.
While there exists “a lot of synergy”, for example, between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the NSA; the paperwork that must be filed and approved before a response is generated creates a delay in taking action and mitigating damage that could last up to a week. Then a determination must be made as to whether the cybercrime falls under the jurisdiction of the DHS, the NSA, or potentially the FBI or other law enforcement agency.
“By the time we get that sorted we are at a disadvantage when it comes to an adversary and how they can attack us in that regard.”
“I am now firmly convinced that we need to rethink how we do cyber defense as a nation.” He mentioned the possibility of uniting pieces of the NSA, DHS, and FBI into a single cybersecurity response team that would manage cyber defense for the United States as a whole. He used the UK National Cyber Security Centre as a model of a single entity that manages cyber security for the entire nation.
Mr. Dukes’ speech covered trends in cybersecurity, challenges caused by increased global connectivity, and the need to increase basic preventative measures to protect government and business entities from cybersecurity threats. Mr. Dukes noted that if one-tenth of the funds that were eventually spent in recovering from the OPM breach, for example, had been put into preventative actions ahead of the hack, the effects would have been much less severe.