Quoted in the Columbia, South Carolina newspaper The State on October 24, 2014, American University history professor Alan Lichtman characterized the national response to the current Ebola outbreak:
“When caught unprepared in a crisis, Americans have a tendency to see things in apocalyptic terms. . . It may not be a uniquely American trait, but it’s one that appears we’re particularly conditioned to and bound to repeat.”
“We are a people of plenty. We’re the richest nation on Earth. . . We have unparalleled prosperity, yet we have this anxiety that it may not last. This external force over which we don’t seem to have any control can cut at the heart of American contentment and prosperity.”Regardless of how extreme the American reaction to the Ebola outbreak is, or whether it’s warranted, it’s impossible to argue that local, state and federal governments are taking measures to deal with a real and present threat. These measures, however, are inherently reactive, coming into force after the danger materialized on American shores.
In the case of a dangerous communicable disease, a reactive approach may be sufficient; time will tell. By the time the public or private sector is able to react to a successful cyber-attack on our national critical infrastructure, it will be too late. The damage will already be done and the effects will be catastrophic, wide-spread, and long-lasting. Imagine tens of millions without heat, light, fuel or purified water during winter. Imagine an inability to transport or distribute food and other necessities to and within large urban areas for months at a time.
Feeling uneasy? Concerned? A little worried around the edges?
If you are, you’re not alone. There’s growing awareness of the perfect storm of vulnerabilities inherent to the American national critical infrastructure. It results from the combination of a thoroughly interconnected society, a long standing emphasis on safety and reliability (often to the detriment of security) within industrial control systems (ICS) and a commercial software development model that routinely incorporates (and touts!) post-deployment security and vulnerability patching.
Fortunately, as we become more aware of our vulnerabilities, we are also becoming motivated to discover and implement solutions that address them. These range from policy initiatives designed to degrade, reduce and eventually remove domains and service providers from which attacks and malware emanate to the development and implementation of new technologies, systems and networks that both render conventional attacks less effective and create resilient systems that can continue to operate in spite of an attack.
Securing the resources necessary to implement these solutions will require broad, grass-roots awareness of and enfranchisement in both the vulnerability and the path to a solution.
To help raise this awareness, Kaspersky Government Security Solutions, Inc. (KGSS), in cooperation with its sponsors and partners, is hosting the 2nd annual Kaspersky Government Cybersecurity Forum in Washington, DC on Tuesday, October 28th, 2014. The event, which will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, is open to all at no cost. Additionally, attendees who hold PMP, CSEP, ASEP and/or CISSP certifications may use conference participation to claim required continuing education credits toward those certifications.
For more information, please see: www.kasperskygovforum.com.
Thanks, and I hope to see you there!