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Greg Schaffer Assistant Secretary of DHS' Office of Cybersecurity on Cyber "In-Fighting," US-CERT and the Cyber Battleground

Greg Schaffer, assistant secretary of DHS’ Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, recently spoke to InformationWeek about US-CERT and the shifting terrain of cyber warfare.  Schaffer suggests that much of the perceived “in-fighting” and cyber “turf wars,” often portrayed in media as bitter administrative squabbles between government agencies, private industry, and the military, is really just the result of fundamental changes in the cyber landscape over the past ten years.  He elaborates:

“When I [was] with the Justice Department 10 years ago, cybersecurity was thought of as a silo. It has since become horizontal…That adjustment from a vertical to a horizontal is difficult and requires a lot of people to change their minds. A lot of what gets represented as infighting is simply the growth pains in making that normal adjustment. A lot…gets articulated as infighting when it’s not.”

Schaffer goes on to address America’s evolving cyber certification program, US-CERT, and its evolving standards and goals.  He emphasizes that increased cyber situational awareness through programs like Einstein III are essential to preserving civil liberties, rather than threats to them.

“US-CERT will continue to evolve. We obviously want to continue to grow our partnerships with the various departments and agencies that are our clients in this space, as well as the private sector… The goal is to leverage the additional data … that comes through the deployment of … tools, whether it’s the IDS/IPS solutions, … Einstein, those technologies are going to lead to better situational awareness.”

And situational awareness “…can then be leveraged to defend the networks that are so important to our economic growth, the protection of our citizens, the protection of privacy, the protection of our civil liberties.”

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