General Alexander Urges Congress That Defensive Cybersecurity Actions Must Be Taken Before it Is Too Late
During a speech at the American Enterprise Institute on Monday, General Keith Alexander, head of the U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, said that the U.S. must adopt laws that will protect the nation from cyber attack. He called the passing of such laws vital.
“The conflict is growing, the probability for crisis is mounting,” the General stated.
The Nation’s cybersecurity chief said that there needs to be concern for when the existing attacks turn from disruptive in nature to destructive, adding, “…while we have the time, we should think about and enact those things that we need to ensure our security in this area. Do it now, before a crisis…”
He said that the notion of a turn from disruptive to destructive is already visible. “You can see this statistically. The number of attacks is growing.”
Such laws, if they were created, would need to focus on privacy as well he explained.
“For situational awareness, we need to be able to see what’s going on. I don’t mean the government has to be in the network to see…Like the police force, like the fire department, they don’t see around buildings waiting for a fire to come on, you call them when it happens. In cyberspace, I see very much the same thing in our partnership with industry.”
In May, General Alexander told Senator John McCain in a letter that if the Department of Defense is to defend the nation against cyber attack, it must be able to see those attacks in real time.
“This requires legislation that, at a minimum, removes existing barriers and disincentives that inhibit the owners of the critical infrastructure from sharing cyber threat indicators with the Government,” General Alexander wrote.
“Additionally, given DoD reliance on certain core critical infrastructure to execute its mission, as well as the importance of the Nation’s critical infrastructure to our national and economic security overall, legislation is also needed to ensure that infrastructure is efficiently hardened and resilient. Recent events have shown that a purely voluntary and market driven system is not sufficient.”