Computerworld - WASHINGTON -- A congressionally appointed panel of experts yesterday delivered a report to the president calling the government's incessant focus on public/private partnerships to improve cybersecurity an inadequate solution for the job at hand.
In its fourth annual report, the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction, chaired by former Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III, called the recently released Draft National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace "a small step" in the right direction.
"The draft strategy poses what we view as voluntary, tactical responses to an inherently strategic problem of national importance," the report states. The report also faults the Bush plan because it "relies on private sector willingness to take certain security measures and bear their costs, and chooses not to use government's power to legislate, regulate or otherwise require certain actions."
That simply hasn't worked, said Gilmore.
John Marsh, former secretary of the Army
Gilmore also cited the need for a greater focus on burden-sharing between the government and the private sector, as well as on liability issues.
In the report, the commission specifically faults the government for relying too heavily on persuasion to get the private sector to act.
"The government ... has failed to exercise any of its powers other than persuasion," the report concluded. "As a result, there has been no change in the significant market disincentives to the adoption of cybersecurity measures necessary for ensuring the viability of critical functions performed by the information infrastructure that directly contribute to national needs," such as national security and public health.
One of the major stumbling blocks to significant improvements in cybersecurity so far has been the tendency to view cybersecurity separate from the physical aspects of critical infrastructure protection, said Gilmore. "We believe that critical infrastructure has to be looked at as one entire whole and not simply as two pieces," he said.
That sentiment was echoed by John Marsh, former secretary of the Army and the commission member in charge of cybersecurity issues.
"You see an expansion in this report from simply the use of [the word] cyber ... to including cyber as a part of the totality of critical infrastructure," said Marsh. "And it seeks to address the key role that cyber plays in critical infrastructure protection."
In other words, Marsh said, cyberprotection can't be separated from thephysical protection of the nation's critical infrastructure.
The commission also criticized the U.S. government for failing to hold leaders responsible for cybersecurity lapses.
"The federal government does not hold its leaders and managers responsible for cybersecurity," the report said. "There are essentially little or no consequences for federal government agencies and officials who do not take prudent steps to improve cybersecurity."
Read more about Security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.
- Securing Mobile App Data - Comparing Containers and App Wrappers Analysts agree that Mobile Device Management (MDM) is not enough when it comes to securing app data. Although it remains a critical component...
- PCI 3.0 Compliance In this white paper, learn how PCI-DSS 3.0 effects how you deploy and maintain PCI compliant networks using CradlePoint devices.
- Mitigating Security Risks at the Networks Edge This white paper provides strategies and best practices for distributed enterprises to protect their networks against vulnerabilities, threats, and malicious attacks.
- 5 Strategies for Modern Data Protection Read the five strategies for modern data protection that will not only help solve your current data management challenges but also ensure that...
- Business-driven data protection Setting up data protection infrastructures with your organizations' core mission or business in mind is key. In this webinar, the ARCserve team will...
- On-Demand Webinar: Mind the Gap! Watch the webinar featuring Bob Janssen, CTO and Co-Founder of RES Software, to start building a solid foundation for business and IT to... 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!