Private sector to play key role in cybersecurity

Tackling cybersecurity isn’t just a federal problem, it’s a “team sport” that will require private sector involvement. So said two senior administration officials recently, speaking in advance of the release of the 60-day cybersecurity review being conducted by Melissa Hathaway. Officials offered an inside look at the methodology used to generate the upcoming review. Among the key takeaways they offered:

Vast resources: The 60-day review involved unprecedented outreach to key stakeholders — everyone from federal agencies to universities, the private sector to civil liberty groups such as the ACLU. Other key stakeholders interviewed included the Social Security Administration, the IRS, members and staff of Congress, as well as foreign partners who could offer insight into their cyber strategies and policies.

Key areas of interest: The review will fall into four categories. 1.) Governance: how to coordinate policy and operational activities across the executive branch;  2.) Architecture: how to address performance, cost, and security characteristics of communications infrastructure; 3.) Norms of behavior: a look at how law, regulation, international treaties, and other measures can be employed to strengthen cybersecurity; 4.) Capacity: utilizing a broad-based communications strategy to raise cyber awareness.

A CSIS report led by Jim Lewis recommends the White House take the lead role in cybersecurity.Areas of vulnerability: The review will pay particular attention to telecommunications. Other evolving threats range from simple hacking to more sophisticated organized crime activity on a national scale, say officials.

White House role: A CSIS report led by Jim Lewis recently recommended the White House take the lead role in cybersecurity. Senior administration officials suggest the 60-day report will take a similar stance. On all matters the White House will set cyber policy and coordinate interagency activities.

While officials say the report is “just scratching the surface,” they also state it should offer sufficient strategic framework in which to begin addressing threats to homeland and national security. Stay tuned — the review is reportedly set to hit President Obama’s desk this Friday.

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