President Trump Promotes Offensive Cybersecurity Tactics

February 13, 2019 by Michael Cheng
From left, FBI Director Christopher Wray; CIA Director Gina Haspel; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; Gen. Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency; Gen. Paul Nakasone, director of the National Security Agency; and Robert Cardillo, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, await the start of a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "Worldwide Threats" January 29, 2019 in Washington, D.C. The intelligence leaders discussed North Korea, Russia, China and cybersecurity among other topics. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)

Government agencies concerned about limited options available to them in the event of security breaches and data hacks may now explore offensive cybersecurity strategies. This is the message firmly conveyed by President Trump and National Security Adviser John Bolton earlier this week.

The bold cybersecurity plan, which was released by the White House in September 2018, has received positive feedback from various government departments, security experts and academic leaders. Collectively known as The Network, a whopping 60 percent of the group approve the President’s decision, according to a recent survey published by the Washington Post.

“The Administration will push to ensure that our Federal departments and agencies have the necessary legal authorities and resources to combat transnational cybercriminal activity, including identifying and dismantling botnets, dark markets, and other infrastructure used to enable cybercrime, and combatting (sic) economic espionage,” cited President Trump in the 40-page document.

In applying the “best defense is a strong offense” military tactic, the strategy entails several possibilities for cyber government agencies. Under the order, defense groups, such as the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and the National Security Agency, could take a proactive approach to deterring hacks from overseas cybercriminals.

The National Cyber Strategy also highlights the crucial role that private sectors will play in sharing data with the government, in order to boost the effectiveness of offensive cybersecurity efforts. Notable industries mentioned in the plan include the following: banking and finance, communications, information technology, transportation and energy. Interestingly, these fast-moving sectors are frequently targeted by malicious cyber criminals.

Furthermore, the document encourages collaboration between law enforcement groups and private tech companies in addressing technological roadblocks that may arise when securing time-sensitive information. The barriers highlighted in the plan are encryption and anonymization, which are designed to maintain privacy and protect the identity of individuals.

“The approach could lead to increased business opportunities for cybersecurity contractors, explained Deon Viergutz, vice president of Lockheed Martin Cyber Solutions.

“The President’s National Cyber Strategy and the Department of Defense Cyber Strategy further reinforce the groundswell of support for the growing cyber mission needs and requirements.”

To ensure international cooperation, the Administration will launch the Cyber Deterrence Initiative. The program is projected to streamline coordination with the nation’s allies across the globe. If successful, the initiative would enable the government to take swift action against criminals attempting to circumvent cybersecurity laws by conducting attacks abroad.  

Surprisingly, the strategy issued insights on enforcing cybersecurity plans in space. Although the technical aspects of the plan are unclear at this time, the takeaway here is the government is very interested in protecting space-related assets (satellites, weather-monitoring devices and navigational instruments).

Lastly, it is important to point out the document did not disclose the types of cyber attacks requiring approval from the President. To prevent potential interference with intelligence-gathering programs, previous cybersecurity policies required consultation with the military and government agencies before moving forward with such activities.

In The News

Health

Voting

Cybersecurity

SolarWinds Cyberattack Prompts Calls for Aggressive Countermeasures
Congress
SolarWinds Cyberattack Prompts Calls for Aggressive Countermeasures
March 1, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- A congressional hearing Friday showed that foreign computer hackers are facing a growing likelihood of counterattack from the United States as a result of the SolarWinds software breach. Lawmakers and computer industry officials agreed the hackers must face consequences to deter them in the... Read More

Massive Breach Fuels Calls for US Action on Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity
Massive Breach Fuels Calls for US Action on Cybersecurity

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jolted by a sweeping hack that may have revealed government and corporate secrets to Russia, U.S. officials are scrambling to reinforce the nation's cyber defenses and recognizing that an agency created two years ago to protect America's networks and infrastructure lacks the money,... Read More

Cybersecurity Experts Caution Congress About 'Global Emergency' from Hackers
Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity Experts Caution Congress About 'Global Emergency' from Hackers
February 11, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Cybersecurity experts suggested to a congressional committee Wednesday that lawmakers act quickly to address growing threats from hackers. They mentioned the SolarWinds computer infiltration by the Russians last year and a hacker’s attempt to poison a Florida municipal water supply last week as examples.... Read More

Hack Exposes Vulnerability of Cash-Strapped US Water Plants
Cybercrime
Hack Exposes Vulnerability of Cash-Strapped US Water Plants

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A hacker's botched attempt to poison the water supply of a small Florida city is raising alarms about just how vulnerable the nation's water systems may be to attacks by more sophisticated intruders. Treatment plants are typically cash-strapped, and lack the... Read More

Defense and Homeland Discuss Priorities for Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity
Defense and Homeland Discuss Priorities for Cybersecurity
February 5, 2021
by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON — Dramatic changes in the workforce and service delivery have posed unique security challenges over the last year. Evolving technologies are accommodating training and remote work, but new cybersecurity threats continue to emerge.  In the last few years, directives have required federal agencies to take... Read More

CISA Needs to be ‘Quarterback’ of U.S. Cybersecurity, Rep. Katko Says
Cybersecurity
CISA Needs to be ‘Quarterback’ of U.S. Cybersecurity, Rep. Katko Says
January 28, 2021
by Victoria Turner

Recent cyberattacks on U.S. federal systems point to the need to make the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency the "centralizing authority system" for the nation, said Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., during a fireside chat at the State of Net Conference. That said, Katko went on to say... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top