SAN FRANCISCO, February 14, 2017 – Cyber is the new battleground and we are losing the war, according to Michael McCaul, chairman of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
“We’re trying to defend against 21st-Century threats with 20th-Century technology and 19th-Century policies,” he said during an RSA keynote on Valentines Day at the San Francisco Moscone Center.
Cyber has become the newest weapon of warfare by nation-states such as Russia and China, he said, while smart criminals are stealing financial and health data to sell on the darknet, and others are using cyber to crowdsource the murder of innocent people.
“Cyber has even been used to undermine our election system and create discord in the lead up to the vote,” McCaul continued, adding that he was disappointed that the U.S. did not react fast or strongly enough back in April when he briefed government agencies on the intrusions into the DNC servers.
What we need is stronger sanctions and deterrence against nation states, along with international cooperation in prosecuting cyber criminals. McCaul urged for private sector organizations to share more threat and vulnerability data among themselves as well as with agencies. And he advocated for new cyber policies and innovation.
“The answer is right here in this room,” he said to the crowd of cyber security experts overflowing the ballroom at Moscone West. “It’s the bleeding edge work in the private sector that will get us through. We need your innovation.”
The government also needs more experts working to protect government systems. To that end, McCaul is working to raise salaries and incentives to match that of the private sector.
In his call to action, he also proposed a stronger, more consolidated cyber security program headed by the DHS, under which we’re likely to see more recommendations and best practices on the roles we all play in protecting our homeland.