Government said to be making larger strides in cybersecurity

Cybersecurity efforts are starting to pay off and agencies are working together better, says NSC's cybersecurity coordinator.

Leaders at the highest levels of the federal government are moving forward with a range of cybersecurity programs and initiatives, according to a National Security Council official. And while much work remains, the efforts are beginning to bear fruit.

Michael Daniel, special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator at the NSC, highlighted progress in a number of initiatives including short-term, medium-term and long-term plans.

“Right now cyberspace seems to favor the intruder, and this setup makes defense a losing game,” Daniel said Sept. 26 at the INSA Cybersecurity Innovation Symposium in Washington. “We’re pursuing a lot of activities designed to make cyberspace inherently more secure; we’re changing the game to one that’s actually in our favor. There’s a lot we can do in this, and we’ve got a lot of efforts going on.”

The progress is most clearly visible in the coordination between federal agencies, which Daniel noted has improved in recent months.

“It can be hard to quantify, but you can see we’re making progress. Things that used to take prodding now just happen without somebody from [higher] levels asking, requiring and making it happen,” he said. “That’s a real advance.”

One of the more recent programs contributing to the improved coordination is the Cybersecurity Capability and Maturity Model, a public-private partnership that examines and implements the best ways for government to work with the owners and operators of privately owned critical infrastructure in protecting their networks.

The electricity subsector, led by the Energy and Homeland Security departments, has served as a pilot of the model, which is based on sets of questions companies use to assess their cybersecurity posture. The findings help inform investment planning, research and development and other partnership efforts, Daniel said.

“The electricity subsector is currently working with us to build a baseline understanding of cybersecurity capabilities – what’s working and where our resources need to be adjusted,” he said. “So far our experience has been that almost everybody who goes through the maturity model learns something – many of them learn a lot. A lot of companies have learned that things they thought they were doing well actually needed some basic improvements; others actually discovered they already had programs going that sometimes they weren’t even fully aware of.”

Daniel also said the administration is moving forward in implementation of Einstein 3-Accelerated, DHS’ software-based intrusion detection/prevention program for federal networks.

The Defense Department’s voluntary defense industrial base (DIB) information-sharing program for cyber threats is moving ahead as well, Daniel noted. Now split into two areas of focus – cybersecurity information assurance and enhanced cybersecurity services – the programs hinge on private defense companies and DOD sharing information that is both unclassified and classified. Daniel said they are “working to get those programs up and running fully.”

While the efforts represent a good start for the government, there remains a mountain of challenges ahead, requiring multi-tiered and multi-faceted approaches, Daniel said.“ Even if we manage to improve the security of federal networks and improve the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure, I probably won’t be out of a job.”

One specific weakness currently being targeted is incident-reporting management and response, and according to Daniel, there are a number of joint initiatives under way.

“Through a series of initiatives with the intelligence community, law enforcement and government as a whole, we’re trying to improve knowledge of potential adversaries in cyberspace – including how we even identify, characterize and talk about these things, and then how we actually respond,” he said.

Daniel pointed out that earlier this year a national-level exercise focused on cybersecurity highlighted specific areas needing improvement, including clearer authorities for information-sharing and better abilities to identify existing capabilities and systems.

“We’re already extracting some of the lessons learned and working on top mission-critical findings from that,” he said.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.