Condoleezza Rice closes out 2013 RSA Conference

The former Secretary of State discusses how security is changing the way we view political, economic, and social issues at the close of the 2013 RSA Conference.


SAN FRANCISCO -- One of the problems with both the Internet and the cloud is that these are the most borderless of any of the institutions that we have experienced to date, said former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

During the closing keynote session of the 2013 RSA Conference on Friday afternoon, Rice acknowledged that "some of our traditional ways of defending attacks from abroad don't work" when it comes to cyber crime.

See also from RSA 2012:
Tony Blair: Social media 'tremendous instrument' for protests

Quite simply, she explained, it's hard for people to share for this information because just the fact you were hacked can be conceived as embarrassing.

She suggested to the audience to imagine a boardroom in which a chief executive enters the boardroom at a major technology company and admits the company's network was hacked. Fears about stock price and sharing that revelation with the U.S. government makes it even more difficult, she added.

"I would hope that we could also build a new norm within the U.S. government and within the private sector that we don't have a choice but to share information about what has happened in the past so we can protect in the present," Rice posited. "That is the immediately problem and the immediate task before the United States of America."

Rice outlined that there are a few ways that the international system deals with cyber threats, including "pure, out-and-out defensive conflict." The former National Security Advisor defined this as "If you do it to me, I'll do it to you. So don't do it to me," further describing this as the "bargain of the nuclear age."

Following recent high-profile cyber attacks on The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Rice predicted that there will be more attention on this issue.

"We are getting better on the anonymity piece as [digital] signatures are becoming more and more available and more observable," said Rice.

More from the 2013 RSA Conference on ZDNet:


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