Thursday, August 6, 2015

BHUSA15: Information Access and Information Sharing: Where We Are and Where We Are Going

Alejandro Mayorkas, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.

Homeland security means security of our institutions, security of our way of life and most importantly security of our values.  Security of the Internet is very much a part of what we do. It is clear that the challenges of network security are immense. We as a government are making advances in this area, but we are not where we need to be.

Every morning, the secretary and get a briefing about threats, events that are occurring or are about to occur all over the world. Increasingly Internet security events are more common in that meeting.

The more he travels around the country, it becomes obvious how important this is for everyone.  Internationally, the same thing. Foreign companies and governments all care about this.

The current state of affair with individualized responses is not working well to ensure that the Internet is protected.  DHS considers themselves uniquely situated to address these concerns. DHS is a civilian agency, standing at the intersection of Private Sector, Enforcement community, Intelligence Community and desire to protect .gov.  They have created a critical response set of protocols and organization (National Cybersecurity Communications Organization).

DHS currently shares information in bulletins or entity to entity. It is not currently in an automated fashion. The President, in his last executive order, placed DHS in charge of leading information sharing with the private sector.

DHS wants an automated and near real time way to share and disseminate information, to raise the bar and capacity for the private sector to protect themselves.  When a threat is shared with DHS, they can receive that in automated form and disseminate in near real time to prevent replication of that threat.

One thing in their way: the issue of trust. That emanates from a variety  of sources - can DHS keep this secure? can you trust those providing information?

DHS needs to work on building trust - it will take time, but will be worth the effort.

As they are working on the automatic reception of cyber threats, please give them a chance and share some information so that they can prove their capabilities and prove their results.

Question about how important is it for private industry to participate?  Answer: very, many of them are very critical systems. It's critical they participate.

We have to understand our responsibilities for the public good. Alejandro hopes that sharing the cyber threat will have a public dimension. It's vital for them to be shared far more publicly than they are now. This is important for DHS's mission to secure this country.

DHS is very active in research and development in achieving network security - we are investing in public as well as private sector.

Various questions show that folks are nervous about sharing with the government, Alejandro noted that they will be working on correcting that.

Another questioner asked about the OPN breach, where NASA, etc, lost lots of personal information.  He noted that not all agencies are as advanced as others, and they've been doing a 30 day security activity with the goal of improving this.

Question: will information about 0-days that the government has bought be shared? Answer: we are going to declassify and release everything that we can.

Question: gov't is know for antiquated systems, how do we know you'll do this right? Alejandro noted that they have to start with new gear, and stay on top of the systems. (no Windows NT here)

Additionally, DHS is looking at recruiting the best and the brightest, and even looking at opening an office in Silicon Valley.