Hathaway on cyber security for the first time after leaving the White House

Former cyber security czar Melissa Hathaway addressed the public for the first time since resigning her post of Acting Senior Director for Cyberspace for the National Security and Homeland Security Councils.

internetnews reports that in her keynote at the ArcSight Protect 09 security conference she warned about the fast-paced nature and the severity of cyber threats to digital networks.

The problems that the review of the federal cyberspace (led by Hathaway and her team) unearthed just before she left the White House are multiple:

  • Cyber threats are outpacing federal defenses and growing at and alarming rate
  • There’s a great need for cybersecurity research and education
  • The private sector is leery of cooperating with the government because of the fear that the sensitive data they would share would become public
  • At the same time, companies are disinclined to join forces with each other when faced with a common threat, because they are uncertain about the collusion restrictions in U.S. antitrust law
  • Policymakers’ lethargy.

Notwithstanding the bad news, Hathaway is not wholly pessimistic. The reason is that in the last few years the issue of cybersecurity managed to become “visible” to the greater public and to the Congress, where there are currently at least 14 bills regarding different aspects of cybersecurity pending – and many of which are supported by both parties.