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Intelligence Sharing Key in Cybersecurity Arms Race, Experts Say

Experts Say The Government and the Private Sector Need to Work Together Better, Faster and Across More Sectors.

There has been a growing awareness during the past few years that cyber-security is an important element of military defense – a fact that was underscored by recent research from McAfee and Brussels-based think tank Security & Defence Agenda (SDA).

In a report titled: “Cyber-security: The Vexed Question of Global Rules,” researchers surveyed some 250 cyber-security specialists in 35 countries to get their thoughts on the threats facing companies and countries alike. According to the report, 57 percent believe an arms race is taking place in cyberspace, and 36 percent believe cyber-security is more important than missile defense.

Threat Sharing CybersecurityIn addition, 43 percent identified damage or disruption to critical infrastructure as the greatest single threat posed by cyber-attacks with wide economic consequences. Another 45 percent believe cyber-security is as important as border security.

One of the key challenges cited in the report is the sharing of real-time intelligence. Kevin Gronberg, who is senior counsel of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, was quoted in the report as stating that while the defense industry has a “solid partnership” with the Department of Defense, this type of relationship needs to be expanded to other industries as well.

“We need to address this problem in Congress, but Congress moves extremely slowly,” he said. “We need government and the private sector to work together better, faster and across more sectors.”

The report also noted the ability of industry groups such as the Cloud Security Alliance to share information and best practices.

“The core problem is that the cyber criminal has greater agility, given large funding streams and no legal boundaries to sharing information, and can thus choreograph well-orchestrated attacks into systems,” Phyllis Schneck, McAfee’s vice president and chief technology officer for the global public sector, was quoted as saying in the report. “Until we can pool our data and equip our people and machines with intelligence, we are playing chess with only half the pieces.”

In terms of cyber-readiness, the United States, Australia, UK, China and Germany all ranked behind smaller countries such as Sweden, Israel and Finland. Out of a possible five star rating, with five being the highest, the United States was given four stars.

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“We’re moving into new territory,” Alastair MacWilson, global managing director of Accenture’s global security business, was quoted as saying in the report. “The dynamics of cyberspace is moving so fast…No one really has got their mind around what all this really means and what we should do about it.”

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