Washington, D.C. – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) published a rather dramatic report on the state of “cybersecurity” in the U.S. and the resulting tasks for the next president, Barack Obama. Right now, the U.S. faces overwhelming threats that arose from failure to identify opponents and effective security strategies – and misinterpreted previous cybersecurity reports. The group recommends seven different measures to make the U.S. less vulnerable to attacks.
The CSIS report entitled “Securing Cyberspace for the 44th Presidency” paints a bleak picture of the cybersecurity in the U.S. and criticizes that the country has failed to properly address a threat, which is now considered to be foremost an immediate risk to the economy. The organization believes that Cybersecurity isn’t just a topic to discuss over dinner, but has evolved into a major national security problem that needs to be addresses by a new White House Office, the National Office for Cyberspace, headed by an Assistant to the President for Cyberspace.
This new institution will have to come up with a comprehensive national security strategy and decisions and actions that respect privacy and civil liberties, the report said.
It is not the first report of this kind. The CSIS pointed to a 1998 publication that sated back then that protecting cybersecurity would be crucial for national security. However, back then, the report was misinterpreted – as it was believed that the threat would result in terrorist attacks such as crashing airplanes: “To meet this new threat, we have relied on an industrial-age government and industrial-age defense. We have deferred to market forces in the hope that they would produce enough security to mitigate national security threats. It is not surprising gar this combination of industrial organization and its overreliance on the market has not produced success. As a result there has been immense damage to the national interest.”
A new strategy will have to be focused on diplomatic, intelligence, military and economic factors and state the cyberinfrastructure is a vital asset for national security, the CSIS said. The group believes that there are seven key areas the new President will have to focus on – a lead directly from the White House; an improved public-private partnership; a regulation of cyberspace that guarantees the delivery of basic service when the U.S. is under attack; enhanced authentication; the purchase of secure products and services only; research training and education as well as the use of existing knowledge that avoids an effort to reinvent the wheel.
Immediate action is required, the CSIS said, as cybersecurity is currently believed to be a battle the U.S. is losing.
The entire 96-page report can be downloaded here.