Featured Why cybersecurity is a matter of national security

Published on November 8th, 2021 📆 | 8181 Views ⚑


Why cybersecurity is a matter of national security

After months of escalating cyberattacks that have affected critical infrastructure providers, the food supply chain, and even disrupted distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and hospitals struggling to treat Covid patients, it is time to draw a line in the sand. The SolarWinds breach, followed by the Hafnium attacks against vulnerable Microsoft Exchange servers, and the massive ransomware attacks against Colonial Pipeline and JBS Meat Packing make it increasingly evident that the lines have been blurred for cyberattacks and today, cybersecurity is a matter of national security for all nations.

Against this backdrop, CEOs from 24 leading tech companies, critical infrastructure providers, banks, insurers, and educational institutions recently met at The White House with US President Joe Biden and top advisors. After the meeting, the White House announced a number of bold initiatives.

For instance, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will collaborate with private sector partners to develop a framework to improve security and integrity in the supply chain. They also formally expanded the industrial control systems cybersecurity initiative beyond electric utilities to include natural gas pipelines.

Major tech companies agreed to chip-in with a variety of initiatives. Apple will improve supply chain security, Google will expand zero trust programmes, Microsoft will accelerate efforts to integrate cybersecurity by design into systems and Amazon will make its internal security awareness training available to the public for free.

One of the most reassuring facets of the meeting, though, was the emphasis on education and training. The UAE is already making strides in this arena. The government recently launched a programme in collaboration with some of the tech giants that were part of the White House meeting to train coders, several who will no doubt end up making invaluable contributions in the fight against cybercrime.

These initiatives underscore the importance of public-private partnerships in the fight against cyber threats. It is time to stop relying on antiquated technologies designed to protect against threats from 20 years ago, and time to invest in cutting-edge prevention, detection and resilience solutions.

We should also address escalating cyber espionage and nation-state cyberattacks by introducing financial regulation of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to fight ransomware and limit the ability to monetise cybercrime, as well as legislation to update the penalties associated with cybercrimes, work with our allies to update treaties for extraditing cybercriminals and foster global cooperation to fight back.

After the United States and the European Union condemned China for the Microsoft Exchange server attack, it was a wakeup call to other nation-state adversaries that in the future there will be a cost to cyberattacks on global targets. More condemnations are needed along with the establishment of clear rules of engagement for offensive operations.

One of the core values at Cybereason is “win as one”. That philosophy also applies here. We face a constantly evolving and expanding landscape of threats, and increasingly sophisticated attacks that blur the lines between cyberattacks and cyber espionage. It will take a collaborative effort between many nations, private and public sector vendors, and government agencies to exchange intelligence and knowledge to improve our ability to fight the rising tide of advanced cybercrime.

Cybersecurity is national security for all nations.

Yonatan Striem-Amit is the chief technology officer and co-founder at Cybereason

Read: Application-first cybersecurity: what it is and why it matters

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