Cyberdefense Plan Gets Mixed Reviews
Raises awareness, but critics say it lacks teeth
Computerworld - The White House's National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, released last week in draft form, was applauded by some IT industry executives for its vision. But the ink was barely dry before critics charged that the plan lacks the authority necessary to accomplish real change.
"Anything that could have made a difference was removed at the last minute," said the president of a major security consulting firm who requested anonymity.
While the government got high marks for its effort to raise awareness of security issues and its willingness to take on a leadership role, some private-sector security experts were surprised by the lack of tough enforcement language in the document. In fact, a White House source acknowledged that major changes, such as the removal of "politically sensitive language," were made to the plan in the last 24 hours of preparation.
"What happened here?" asked Wyatt Starnes, CEO of Tripwire Inc., a Portland, Ore.-based global IT security company. "We thought we were going to get something concrete. They probably underestimated the politics."
For example, although the strategy calls on corporate CEOs to establish enterprise security councils to integrate cybersecurity, physical security and privacy into their daily operations, compliance remains voluntary.
Russ Cooper, a security consultant at TruSecure Corp. in Herndon, Va., said he's dissatisfied with the strategy in its current form. Specifically, Cooper said the administration has removed language that would have offered a definition of liability and an assignment of responsibility for Internet security. "It's time the government mandates some action be taken," said Cooper. "I'd like to see ISPs be told that it is illegal to carry identified Internet attack traffic. But I don't see anything similar or at that level in what they're proposing."
James Lewis, director of the Council on Technology and Public Policy at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington, agreed that having cybersecurity dependent on voluntary compliance can't bring real change in the long run. "The report has many good ideas, but cybersecurity is too tough a problem for a solely voluntary approach to fix," he said. "Companies will only change their behavior when there are both market forces and legislation that cover security failures."
Despite the disappointment voiced by some, others said the strategy is a key development that demonstrates solid government leadership.
A Good Place to Start
"You have to look at this as a good starting point," said Scott Crenshaw, a vice president at NTRU Cryptosystems Inc., a security firm in Burlington, Mass. "For example, the section on assessment of current gaps and weaknesses in the private sector is particularly strong. If this document raises awareness of those issues, it will have served us well."
- Enable secure remote access to 3D data without sacrificing visual perfomance Design and manufacturing companies must adapt quickly to the demands of an increasingly global and competitive economy. To speed time to market for...
- Virtually Delivered High Performance 3D Graphics "A picture is worth a thousand words." That old phrase is as true today as it ever was. Pictures (i.e., those with heavy...
- Best Practices for Securing Hadoop Historically, Apache Hadoop has provided limited security capabilities. To protect sensitive data being stored and analyzed in Hadoop, security architects should use a...
- Top Tips for Securing Big Data Environments: Why Big Data Doesn't Have to Mean Big Security Challenges Organizations must come to terms with the security challenges they introduce. As big data environments ingest more data, organizations will face significant risks...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!