IGF-USA 2012 Workshop: Cyber Security – Channeling the Momentum at Home and Abroad
Brief session description:
Thursday, July 26, 2012 – The US House of Representatives has passed four cybersecurity bills, and the US Senate has indicated an intent to consider cybersecurity legislation in the current session. The US Department of State is working with its global partners to develope relationships, collaborative action and norms of behavior for cyberspace. The US Department of Commerce has spearheaded a government initiative on botnets and is working with industry on botnet mitigation measures. The Department of Homeland Security is increasing its cybersecurity staffing for strategic and operational concerns. And the White House is transitioning its team on cybersecurity policy with a second cybersecurity adviser to the president. Stuxnet and Flame attacks have captured international attention. Cybersecurity remains a key theme in discussions in the United Nations, the International Telecommunications Union, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, ICANN and the annual Global Internet Governance Forum. This workshop addressed questions such as: What are businesses, countries, and the technical community doing in this heightened era of cyber security concern? What should they be doing? What are the considerations for individual users here in the U.S. and around the world? How can all these pockets of activity help protect – and not hamper the protection of – the very medium that provides for productivity, communications, efficiencies, innovation, and expression?
Details of the session:
The session was moderated by Audrey Plonk, global security and Internet policy specialist at Intel Corporation. Panelists were:
- Tom Dukes, senior advisor, Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues, US Department of State
- Jeff Greene, senior policy counsel, Cyber Security and Identity, Symantec
- Kendall Burman, senior national security fellow, Center for Democracy and Technology
- Patrick Jones, senior director of security, ICANN
Panelists from the government and private sectors gathered at IGF-USA’s cybersecurity workshop to discuss how these entities are collaborating to deal with domestic cybersecurity threats and international cybersecurity issues.
This issue is especially pertinent right now. There have been a number of high-level conferences and meetings in Washington and other locales over the summer of 2012 on this topic, and, as moderator Audrey Plonk, global security and Internet policy specialist for the Intel Corporation, puts it, “Cybersecurity is the new black.”
Jeff Greene, panelist and senior policy counsel of cybersecurity and identity at Symantec, agreed. “At this time three years ago, cybersecurity was something that was mentioned in passing,” he commented. “Now the interest is exponential.”
Symantec’s business is centered on protecting enterprises from cyberthreats. Greene, who until recently worked with the Department of Homeland Security, said that according to this year’s Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, 75 percent of the enterprises Symantec deals with were threatened with a cyber attack in 2011.
He added that while the incidence of spam decreased in 2011, there has been a shift to web-based attacks. Greene also said the government and private sector are working together to reduce such threats.
“It is remarkable how much of the threat dynamic in both sectors is the same,” Greene said. “We see criminal and other malicious activity largely the same as the government does, so this is all work through government, private and international cooperation.”
Panelist Kendall Burman had a different view on government access to private sector and citizen information in terms of cybersecurity. As a senior national security fellow for the Center for Democracy and Technology, she has spent time exploring security and surveillance from the perspective of a member of a group focused on consumer privacy.
“I think that the tricky area from a civil liberties perspective is when the government is in a position of receiving that information, making sure that that information is limited to cybersecurity threats, and what the government can then do then once it receives it,” Burman said.
Panelist Tom Dukes, senior adviser for the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues at the US Department of State, weighed in from a government standpoint on cybersecurity issues, including the important role of the US government in pushing other countries to increase their outreach and share their perspectives on cybersecurity issues.
“Obviously what the US says, the positions we take, are highly influential and they are certainly looked at by a great many other countries,” Dukes said.
“One thing that the US has been trying to do for the last couple years in terms of addressing cyberpolicy issues in general, cybersecurity included, is to try to take sort of a leadership role in helping shape the world debate on how we think about these issues.”
Dukes said that the US has also made progress in terms of leading a global discussion on reaching a consensus about cyber security norms. Greene said that while the U.S. would like to set its own cybersecurity policies, this could cause global problems.
“If everyone has a different set of rules, (global policymaking)’s going to be pretty difficult,” Greene said.
Panelist Patrick Jones, senior director of security for ICANN, shared his view that while US policymaking is important in terms of cybersecurity, politicians should be aware of the effects that any laws they make may have globally.
“It’s helpful for policymakers, when they’re coming up with legislation, that they think of the Internet as global and consider that the decisions they make may have technical impacts that they’re not considering that impact the way people are using the Internet today – give those a thorough understanding before decisions are made about a particular legislation,” Jones said.
One of the final points of discussion during the workshop was the differences between cybersecurity and information security.
In the discussion it was noted that cybersecurity, in the US view on Internet governance, deals primarily with protection from Internet threats. Information security, in the Russian and Chinese view, also includes censoring the civic sector and content from many Western media and knowledge organizations.
Dukes said there are two considerations for openness and freedom of information that convince most leaders in the world to find common ground in the fairly liberal US position on cybersecurity issues.
First is the basic human rights aspect of the argument; many countries accept that people should, whenever possible within the bounds of public safety, have certain rights of free speech, communication and assembly. Most countries agree that this should apply online.
Dukes’ second point is the economic benefit of keeping the Internet as open and free-flowing as possible. “Many evolving world countries are really desperate to find ways that they can harness the power of the Internet to increase economic opportunity, to increase GDP, to increase development and growth,” he said. “Those arguments seem to be very pragmatic, but it’s hard for countries to disagree with that.”
— Mary Kate Brogan