PERSPECTIVE: We’re The Government and We’re Here to Help Protect Critical Infrastructure

This post originally appeared in the November 8, 2018 update from Cipher Brief  by Francis X. Taylor.

As we look back on cybersecurity awareness month, which ran in October, there’s no better time to examine the cybersecurity health of our critical infrastructure (CI). When a majority of the actual infrastructure that makes up “critical infrastructure” is owned by the private sector, the question becomes: what is the role of the federal government, and how should private industry and the federal government work together to protect the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure?  Is the federal government too involved, or not involved … Read More

PERSPECTIVE: Energy Sector Cyber Threat Is Real; Greater Collaboration Is Part of the Answer

   and 

In June of 2017, when Wired magazine published a harrowing account of Russia’s hack of the Ukrainian electrical grid, it quickly generated broad discussion about the state of our nation’s cyber defense in the critical infrastructure (CI) sectors. But Washington is nearly 5,000 miles from Kiev, and Russia’s ability to take control of a Ukrainian power company through its IT helpdesk seemed even more remote.

Remote no longer. Dan Coats, the director of National Intelligence, recently testified before Congress that “the warning lights

Read More

CGA President Douglas Lute and CGA Senior Advisory Francis Taylor co-author report for the IBM Center for the Business of Government

Recently CGA President Amb. Douglas Lute and CGA Senior Advisor Gen. Francis X. Taylor authored a report for the IBM Center for the Business of Government. The report, “Integrating and Analyzing Data Across Governments – The Key to 21st Century Security: Insights from a Transatlantic Dialogue,” focuses on data gathering, analysis, and dissemination challenges and opportunities across the homeland security enterprise. It especially looks at how improved information sharing could enhance threat prediction and prevention in a transatlantic context.

Lute and Taylor address how stakeholders in the U.S. and Europe can increase the understanding of effective ways to leverage channels … Read More

Opinion: A Cheer for Trump’s Outreach to the Taliban

This piece originally appeared on The New York Times on September 7, 2018.

By Douglas Lute and Denis McDonough
Both authors are national security experts who served under President Barack Obama.

In July, The Times reported that the Trump administration directed the State Department to open direct talks with the Afghan Taliban, to see whether formal talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are possible. Taliban officials soon claimed to have met with American diplomats, an assertion that American officials have not publicly commented on. This week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced while on his way to … Read More

‘Our House Is on Fire.’ Elections Officials Worry About Midterms Security

This piece originally appeared on TIME on Setpember 5, 2018. 

By ERIC LICHTBLAU

Greasing the machinery of democracy can be tedious business. Aside from the occasional recount or a hanging chad, the bureaucrats who run state elections don’t usually see much drama in their work.

But this year’s all-important midterms are no ordinary election cycle. So it was that election administrators from all 50 states received rarified, red-carpet treatment outside Washington earlier this year, as federal intelligence gurus granted them secret clearances for the day, shuttled them to a secure facility, and gave them eye-opening, classified briefings on the looming

Read More

What’s next for data breach legislation?

This piece originally appeared on POLITICO on September 4, 2018.

By 

A BREACH OVER DATA BREACH — Amid a years-long standoff between rival industries and committees over federal data breach notification legislation, one House panel is plotting a move to go it alone — at least in the short run. Sometime this month, the House Financial Services panel might consider data breach notification and security legislation that applies only to the banking sector, a GOP committee aide told MC. The panel has been locked in an impasse with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction … Read More

As elections approach, what is the risk of Russian meddling?

This piece originally appeared in The Oakland Press on September 2, 2018.

Nearly a year after Russian government hackers meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, researchers at cybersecurity firm Trend Micro zeroed in on a new sign of trouble: a group of suspect websites.

The sites mimicked a portal for U.S. senators and their staffs. Emails to Senate users urged them to reset their passwords — an apparent attempt to steal them.

The attempt to infiltrate the Senate network and others reported recently point to Russia’s continued efforts to interfere in … Read More

ELECTION HACKING: SECURITY UPGRADES ARE TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE FOR 2018 MIDTERMS, AND RACE IS ALREADY ON FOR 2020, EXPERTS SAY

This piece originally appeared in Newsweek on August 29, 2018.

BY  

Election experts, cybersecurity experts and those who are overseeing the upcoming midterms have one thing to say about stopping Russian interference in American elections: Forget 2018. It’s too late. Focus on 2020.

Before President Donald Trump had even been sworn into office, intelligence agencies revealed that cyberattacks spanning across 21 states had been conducted under the direct order of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The FBI, CIA and National Security Agency’s report concluded that “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary … Read More

Next frontier of Russian meddling: energy intimidation

This piece originally appeared on The Hill on August 28, 2018.

Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections is now largely beyond debate. But this focus is too limited in scale and too narrow in scope. This is more than just a challenge to American elections. Russia has interfered repeatedly with democracies in Europe, including a number of our NATO allies. Putin has used cyberattacks, misinformation campaigns and support for rightist parties. He even attempted an overthrow of the government in Montenegro as they approached a national decision to join NATO.

Another key … Read More

Election officials’ concerns turn to information warfare as hackers gather in Vegas

This piece originally appeared on CNN on August 12, 2018.

By Donie O’Sullivan, CNN

Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN)As hackers sit down to break into dozens of voting machines here in Las Vegas this weekend, some state and local election officials that have flown in to witness the spectacle at one of the world’s largest hacking conventions are becoming increasingly concerned about another threat to November’s midterm elections: information warfare.

Organizers of a “voting village” at the annual Def Con hacker convention have packed a conference room at Caesars Palace with voting machines and have asked civically-curious hackers to wreak … Read More