A Word On Defense

Hank Thomas, COO

Operation Enduring Freedome

I realize that many of you reading this are in the cybersecurity business, but most Americans are not. More to the point, what I am about to suggest is that we work to get you and all of America into the cyber defense business.  Everyone needs to understand that by way of cyberspace we are not only under constant attack on our nation, but an attack on each of us as American citizens. These aggressions threaten network vulnerabilities in small accounting businesses in Minnesota, local governments in Texas, medical systems in California, and even our own homes and vehicles. The internet of things will only magnify this in short order. We are all within range of these threat actors.

Government and commercial intellectual capital is vulnerable to threats, ultimately to the benefit of opposing nation-states and adversaries. But eventually this hemorrhaging hits home when our information and way of life as individuals is threatened. Let’s start treating these attacks as a threat to both country and home, and revolt with our most powerful weapon – a broader deployment of active cyber defense. While national defense is adequate for physical security, cybersecurity is a new type of war we are still unprepared to fight. Thus, we must call upon ourselves to prioritize civil defense akin to World War and Cold War era efforts.

While the Russians failed to establish a military presence on American soil during the Cold War, America responded proportionately with informational campaigns informing citizens of possible attacks and preparation tactics. Allied nations called upon citizens to band together in the Civil Defense effort; adorned with military helmets and other equipment. The effort was visible and discussed throughout the nation, there were plans in place. Civilians regularly performed homeland defense actions, such as air raid preparation and civilian evacuation. Today, mostly through cyber means, our adversaries sit directly on our soil and aggressively assault our government, businesses, and self.

Our current response is not enough; we need a new mindset. It is time to respond in a manner analogous to Civil Defense efforts found in the last century. We need to arm ourselves and those around us with knowledge of cyber threats in a way that is both understandable and proportionately alarming. Industry experts and the government need to share the true extent of the cyber warfare threat with the general population. This begins with communicating the need to take appropriate precautions inside of our homes, by protecting our own networks. In the workplace, we need to ensure stakeholders in possession of critical information systems take proper precautions and that a collective corporate spirit of defense is developed throughout all industries. And at the federal level, our leaders should champion efforts towards a new paradigm of homeland defense, not just security. Comprehensive awareness campaigns and strategic communications thoroughly illustrating the dangers of this threat and illuminating who our advisories are need to be developed immediately. Only by informing and enabling ourselves and those around us will the true depth of cyberwar and the amplified call for Civil Defense be realized.

Through this blog platform The Strategic Cyber Ventures Group will examine cybersecurity from multiple lenses covering a variety of topics increasing your awareness and enabling you to form opinions and take action. To begin, let’s choose to set the tone for the rest of the nation and use the right words to describe our collective mission and work together to defend it.