It's time for feds to share their ideas

For cybersecurity, information sharing must be a two-way street.

Everyone knows how hard homeland security officials have tried to get industry executives to talk about their cyber vulnerabilities — and how uncooperative companies have been.

But what if the federal government gave industry officials some incentives to open up? In an increasingly dangerous cyberworld, it is the federal government that can no longer afford to keep cybersecurity secrets.

The incentive is clear. Government officials are concerned that the nation's critical infrastructure is vulnerable to a large-scale and potentially devastating cyberattack, but much of that infrastructure — banks and financial institutions, telecommunications networks, electrical power plants — is privately owned and operated.

Nevertheless, government officials are generally unwilling to risk compromising their sources and methods by declassifying threat information and sharing it with industry, said Mark Gembicki, national managing director for critical infrastructure protection at BearingPoint.

Likewise, industry officials are fearful of disclosing information that could become public and damage their business. "They go out on a couple of dates, but they can't seem to get to the altar," he said.

Gembicki thinks critical infrastructure companies should be privy to the federal government's cyberthreat information. He also thinks agencies should share countermeasures for dealing with cyberattacks.

Such an idea has some merit, if it doesn't compromise the government's own security efforts, said Amit Yoran, former director of the Homeland Security Department's National Cyber Security Division. "If we're reluctant or incapable of doing that as a government," he added, "how do we expect to entice our private-sector counterparts to share information with us?"


  • Congress
    U.S. Capitol (Photo by M DOGAN / Shutterstock)

    Funding bill clears Congress, heads for president's desk

    The $1.3 trillion spending package passed the House of Representatives on March 22 and the Senate in the early hours of March 23. President Trump is expected to sign the bill, securing government funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2018.

  • 2018 Fed 100

    The 2018 Federal 100

    This year's Fed 100 winners show just how much committed and talented individuals can accomplish in federal IT. Read their profiles to learn more!

  • Census
    How tech can save money for 2020 census

    Trump campaign taps census question as a fund-raising tool

    A fundraising email for the Trump-Pence reelection campaign is trying to get supporters behind a controversial change to the census -- asking respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.