Oliver McGee: Cyber About ‘Protecting the Critical Infrastructure of America’

Oliver McGeeFormer Transportation Department official Oliver McGee warned against rising instances of online attacks on enterprises, utilities and educational institutions in an interview with GSN magazine published Thursday.

“Cybersecurity is about protecting the critical infrastructure of America, which is our food, water, finances, healthcare, transportation, businesses, shopping, personal identities and records, schools and colleges,” said McGee, who served deputy assistant transportation secretary for technology policy between 1999 and 2001.

Ashley Bennett quoted McGeee, who teaches engineering at Howard University in Washington, as saying cyber attacks could erode confidence in business planning and affect consumer sentiment, which could eventually cause uncertainty in the economic landscape.

He singled out capital reserves and cash liquidity as vulnerable and noted that sectors with connected systems are prone to disruption unless enterprises devise a plan to deal with attacks that are rolling, simultaneous and prolonged in nature.

Malicious groups also could incorporate other emerging technologies such us in biotechnology, nanotechnology and microtechnology to refine their offensives, he added.

“Anticipation and prediction rather than response is the key,” said McGee.

Updates in IT security policy development should include workforce education, preparation and collaboration in the public and private sectors, he said.

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