Added: Raheel Heenan - Date: 13.11.2021 06:29 - Views: 41116 - Clicks: 8848
When General Keith Alexander was nominated in to serve as the first head of U. Alexander wrote, according to a report at the time by The New York Times. Alexander had a unique viewpoint into these issues, having served as director of the National Security Agency since Alexander would transform the way the military handled both its offensive and defensive capabilities in cyberspace. Alexander announced his retirement from the military inand went on to found the cybersecurity company IronNet.
The conversation below has been lightly edited. Do you think the responsibilities of the two agencies have become too complex for a single director? In fact, when you think about it, you want to centralize command and control of the network and not fragment it.
I would look at how we can coalesce everything we do in cyberspace—in peacetime, transition to war, and wartime—so that the country can be adequately defended. In both U. From my perspective, if you start to fragment that, the great technical base at NSA now moves elsewhere and you force Cyber Command to build their own capabilities, which costs twice as much and takes years longer—this took 60 plus years to build, with the best computers, best mathematicians, best network people in the world.
You need that command and control. As you look at some of the problems our country faces, especially with SolarWinds-like attacks, those things show that this can be a very difficult area for our country and these types of attacks are going to grow. We need that single point of focus to hold able for that defense.
Even worse, are you going to separate them and put one under DNI and therefore the White House has to adjudicate? In both cases, that would be crazy. Secretary Gates and I talked about this for a long time—how do you grow Cyber Command to where it needs to be for our country. We saw what you need for the Defense Department, what you need for the intelligence community, what you need for DHS, and what you really want to do is figure out how you can make those work together for the nation.
The best person in the world to articulate that would be somebody like Secretary Gates. We had great discussions about it, and actually had talks with Secretary Chertoff and Nopalitano on doing something just like that. When you think about it, you want to centralize command and control of the network and not fragment it. Nation states and those criminal actors that have nation state-like tools can bypass your security protocols and get into networks and do things that are undetected by your legacy systems. I think their target was the federal government. And when they did that I think it got out of hand there.
I think their intent was to target the government of Ukraine and hammer them. When they went after the tax MeDoc software it got out and hit Maersk, Merck, FedEx, and cost tens of billions of dollars in collateral damage. Now, look at SolarWinds. I think their intent was what is the U. I think that was their target, and IT capabilities to get into there.
But oh, look at what we could do if we needed to. When you think about this, look at their end objective and how they went after it. Think about all these others and what if you wanted to create a bigger problem? What if SolarWinds had been destructive? What if they were going after the government but hit 18, companies?
It would be a great value to understand who those 18, companies are and figure out that if they suffered the same damage as when Maersk and FedEx got hit, what would that have done to those companies and to our economy.
The second part with that is every one of those companies today defends themselves. They share information but they look only at their information. If you had 18, people working together, you would have known about this well in advance. And we need to do that. So now you see that going back, behavioral analytics are tough, they have false positives, and machine learning and AI can assist us in drawing it down.
The private sector is the objective of our foreign adversaries. If you look up The Art of War, you have to hit the military to get to the country. Our government, our military, our intelligence community all exist because of our economy. You destroy that and you have a problem, and those that wish us harm can do that. We have to get this right now. I think their gut was right. We better think twice about it, because they have better opportunities than we do. Before you even think about that, get your defense set.
As a nation we need to say how do we fix this, how do we get our allies to work with us in this area. This is the big issue of today and the next couple decades. We have to go fix that. KA: We need more sharing of threat-related data in real time among the private sector and with the government. This will help the government see where the attacks are coming from and the offense can do something about it while we defend locally.
In a collective defense model, that sharing can be done anonymously and can be correlated with what other organizations are seeing, within a secure ecosystem. We have the ability to detect these behaviors and share them anonymously. We have to help the country understand the safety and benefits of this information sharing, and remove the political rhetoric from the conversation. We need more sharing of threat-related data in real time among the private sector and with the government. There are two ways that can happen: We get out in front of the data sharing issue and help explain it and prove its ability to deliver better defense, or we get hit with a destructive attack that hurts our country ificantly.
What do you think about this approach and where do you see it going during the Biden administration? KA: The government is here for the good of the nation, and the economy is our nation. So step one, I think working with the private sector is a good thing to do and we should continue to do that. KA: Our intent should be to make it a really good working relationship. We have to first put the issues on the table and make sure everyone clearly understands them.
We have a couple things we should look at. Our economy is run based on how we generate a tax base. There are several economic competitions going on—machine learning and AI, quantum computing, 5G, nuclear power, and biotech especially with covid, just to name five. The commercial sector is trying its best to fight against a government and all its resources. Building the public private partnership in cyberspace balances that, and we have to go and fix it. Nations act in their best interest. So you have to tell them not to do it, but also protect your stuff. Think about machine learning and AI and all the stuff going on in our universities.
Adam is the founding editor-in-chief of The Record by Recorded Future. He ly was the cybersecurity and privacy reporter for Protocol, and prior to that covered cybersecurity, AI, and other emerging technology for The Wall Street Journal. Keith Alexander. article Next article.Looking those that want nsa head
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