FBI Director Robert Mueller gave a speech at the RSA Conference this week, and asked for help from the private sector to stay ahead of the curve in combatting cybercrime. "It is not easy for law enforcement and private industry alike to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to these ever-evolving threats," Mueller said. He mentioned the InfraGard program as an example of private and public sector cooperation, and noted the challenge of getting corporations to come clean about cyberattacks they have experienced.
Photo: Steve Maller
Basically, it's the same speech every year, or perhaps every month, given to various private sector audiences. It's not that Mueller's points are wrong, but progress has been slow on both sides. During a panel at RSA, Andy Purdy, acting director of the National Cyber Security Division at the Department of Homeland Security, gave the government and large businesses a D to C+ grade for their cybersecurity efforts. The pace of cybersecurity improvements doesn't keep pace with the efforts of the bad actors.
According to Jori Evers report, Purdy listed the following as areas that need improvement:
- Simpler security for consumers
- Protection for kids online
- More awareness about the risks of file sharing
- Fewer security vulnerabilities in software
- Greater interest from business chiefs
See also news.com's interview with Purdy about Cyber Storm, the first major mock cyberattack that took place earlier this month. It was designed to test the U.S.'s ability to deal with cyberattacks against national infrastructure. Purdy recommends that consumers visit Web sites such as StaySafeOnline.org and US-Cert.gov and "diligently follow the steps in that advice." That's not going to happen on a mass scale, and the government hasn't done much to create a Smokey the Bear-like campaign for cybersecurity awareness. It's also about money. Recently, state and local governments expressed concerns about insufficient funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to wage the cybersecurity battle. I would wager the Director Mueller will be giving pretty much the same speech next year...