U.S. said to be eyeing cybersecurity ambassador role
Goal is to have U.N. representative for cybersecurity policies, says Wall Street Journal
Computerworld - The U.S. is weighing the creation of an ambassador-level position for negotiating cybersecurity matters at the United Nations and for ensuring the country has a consistent international policy on the issue, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Both the U.S. State Department and Congress are considering the creation of such a role following the recent attacks on Google and numerous other high-tech companies, the Journal said, citing several unnamed sources. The proposals include a plan to develop policies tying foreign aid to a country's willingness and ability to fight cybercrime originating from within its borders.
The impetus for the job, according to the Journal, is coming from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Whoever is appointed to fill it would need to be confirmed by the Senate and would apparently report to either a top State department official or to a panel of federal agency officials involved in cybersecurity matters. No decision has yet been made on whether the position should be mandated by law or created internally by the State Department.
Some U.S. lawmakers are seeking to pressure nations perceived as not doing enough to deter cybercrime. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced a bill in the Senate yesterday that seeks to curtail financial help and trade programs with countries seen as havens for cybercriminals.
The newly proposed International Cybercrime Reporting and Cooperation Act has already won industry support from the likes of American Express, Mastercard, Visa , eBay, Facebook, Microsoft and Cisco, according to Gillibrand's office.
The developments highlight what some say is the belated but growing concern in Washington over cyberattacks against U.S. targets originating from overseas. Security experts have been warning about the trend for a while and there is widespread expectation that the Obama Administration will move swiftly to deal with the problem.
"I think we are a little late" with such initiatives, said Patricia Titus, the former chief information security officer at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) who now holds a similar job at Unisys Corp. "I had anticipated that Secretary Clinton would already be working on this just because of the amount of activity that has been taking place," she said.
Even so, the proposals are a step in the right direction, Titus said. The State Department also needs to consider appointing cybersecurity attaches at U.S embassies in key countries such as China, Russia and India. Such attaches are vital for a proper dialog between countries during a cybersecurity crisis, she said.
"We need to have feet on the ground," she said. "We need to have the ability to reach and talk with our technology counterparts" in other countries to avoid finger pointing during a crisis. Cybersecurity attaches can play a vital role in enabling the needed dialog.
Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Read more about Security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- Mobile Policy Checklist Here's what to consider when putting together a mobile policy designed to support a highly productive workforce.
- Securing BYOD Mobile computing is becoming so ubiquitous that people no longer bat an eye seeing someone working two devices simultaneously. Individuals and organizations are...
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Endpoint Backup & Restore: Protect Everyone, Everywhere Arek Sokol from the bleeding-edge IT team at Genentech/Roche explains how he leverages cross-platform enterprise endpoint backup in the public cloud as part...
- Streamline Software Asset Management, Compose a software Management Symphony Keeping track of your organization's software is easy with effective software management solutions from CDW. View the videos in our software solutions channel
- Druva inSync: Endpoint Data Protection & Governance CLICK HERE to watch this video about protecting corporate data on laptops and mobile devices, sponsored by Druva. All Security White Papers | Webcasts