Innovation leadership makes US a cyber target

The United States' history as a leading innovator in technology, manufacturing and intellectual capital means cybersecurity must be understood as a matter of national security, according to one former National Security Agency official.

The stakes are high because intellectual property that is not adequately protected could fall into the hands of a foreign government looking to give its own industry a leg up, said Richard Schaeffer, principal at Security Innovation Network and former NSA information assurance director.

“If you’ve got something that an adversary wants, they’re going to get it if they want it bad enough,” said Schaeffer, who spoke April 4 at the FOSE conference in Washington, D.C.

Already, the U.S. has lost at least hundreds of billions of dollars to malicious cyber infiltration.

“Gen. Alexander once made a statement in a public forum putting the number [associated with cyber fraud and theft loss] at a trillion dollars. Frankly I think the intellectual property loss over the long term is a lot larger than that,” Schaeffer said.

To start to fix the problem, private companies and the government both need to migrate critical networks and data to better-protected infrastructure, with network segmentation and hardened end-systems being key. A failure to do so could result in the U.S. falling behind as the innovation front-runner, he said.

“The reality is…our way of life is tied to our innovation and intellectual property, and that should be a leading element [of formulating cyber defense],” Schaeffer said. “The loss of intellectual property is a problem today and it will be a problem tomorrow. We’re a young nation but we’ve been the number one innovator for a long time; I can’t think of being number two.”

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

Cyber. Covered.

Government Cyber Insider tracks the technologies, policies, threats and emerging solutions that shape the cybersecurity landscape.


Reader comments

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 Chris Cossman Thousand Oaks, CA

I have a slightly different outlook on this. Although you are right about the IP tactics they are using, it doesn't account for how they are doing it. For instance, let's say you wanted to put a finger onto someone's WLAN, and then pull up the probed data to extract their host IP address and Subnet IP address, then you would be in there Internet Gateway. But to do this you would have to have a vast knowledge of Version 6 IP Addressing Format, or IPv6 as it is called. Today, forces like the Network Security Alliance and the National Security of Information and Logistics Corp. have devised a cloaking method that uses ip4 and ip6 addresses in unison. This would mean that for a hacker to intrude beyond a company's Internet Gateway, they would have to have knowledge of something call LACS Lowered-Accessible Configuration Script which is the mumbo-jumbo that works with OPLS and IPCL which are the Protocol Specific Layer Configurations and Setups that re-route the IPv4 addresses ie: through IPv6 addresses ie: ceaxfff0g000f:234450LH:dl00003:fg ..... Now for someone to re-arrange the Hyper-set keys that are locked into the OPLS and IPCL, they would essentially have to be-able to Py-copy the whole entire PCLX-key-house and vaults and that would take hours to do in a network that hosts over a 1000 users. In other words, any hacker out there that can get the IP-conversions and subnet\masks over in under 30 minutes, has to know both one or more of your IPv6 implementation styles ( which is the way in which the IPv6 address is formatted) or two, they would have to be-able to have a sniffing or probing software sophisticated enough to pass through your own Port Intrusion Detection System or your Firewall. The best way to stop these kinds of hackers is to keep your firewall strengthened with up-to-date and monitored firmware/ software and readily accessible logs and reports. Also, renewing the IPv4 and IPv6 addresses and their formats to update with NISL/NECA Firewall and Trusted Secure Server/ Internet Domain Access & Security Rules and Regulations. Additionally, the types of loopholes that your network has must also be accounted for with some type of fail safe system. With either online/offline backups or real-time monitoring and real-time manual overrides are the only fully guaranteed ways to protect your network from dangerous predators.

Thu, Apr 5, 2012 Jim Wingate Fairmont, WV

A very easy way for trusted insiders to steal IP is through the use of digital steganography. However, awareness of the threat from digital steganography applications in the hands of malicious insiders and the perception of the threat is low to non-existent. When the topic of steganography is brought up, the general consensus is that no one is using it so why bother to attempt to detect it. No one really knows how prevalent use of steganography is and no one will ever know until attempts are made to detect it. It will be quite enlightening to learn just how many insiders are, in fact, using steganography to exfiltrate sensitive information like IP while flying under the radar of the current generation of network security appliances and the best DLP systems currently available.

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