Enhancing cybersecurity through increased budget, partnerships, and initiatives

U.S. Cybersecurity Budget Increases

Ensuring the security of cyberspace is critical to promoting American prosperity and global stability. The Administration is taking a series of steps, including an increased budget for cybersecurity, to protect our most sensitive assets and empower Americans to take simple steps to protect themselves online.

Maintaining 24×7 cyber defense teams to protect networks and systems across the Federal civilian Government.

1. Cybersecurity Assurance Program

Cyber-based attacks are constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated. To combat them, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is implementing a wide range of initiatives.

For example, DHS is doubling the number of cybersecurity advisors available to assist private sector organizations with in-person, customized cybersecurity assessments and implementation of best practices. DHS is also collaborating with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to develop a Cybersecurity Assurance Program to test and certify networked devices within the Internet of Things, such as refrigerators and medical infusion pumps, to ensure that they meet security standards.

In addition, UD offers more than 36 graduate courses in the Cybersecurity Master’s degree and 16 undergraduate courses in its Cybersecurity minor to students with interests in all aspects of cybersecurity. These programs provide hands-on learning experiences for aspiring cybersecurity professionals to gain the knowledge and skills needed to establish information security protocols, perform penetration testing, identify software vulnerabilities, and develop secure code.

2. National Cyber Security Alliance

The National Cyber Security Alliance is the nation’s leading nonprofit public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness. Its board of directors includes representatives from Google, Facebook, DropBox, American Express, Microsoft and other top companies.

NCSA is the lead agency in DHS for developing and executing an all-of-the-above approach to improve the Federal Government’s cybersecurity posture, including a robust training and awareness program; a new framework for risk management; and working with component agencies to mature their own cybersecurity programs.

The Cyber Mission Force establishes standing teams to protect networks, systems and data across the entire Federal Civilian Executive Branch through penetration testing, forensic analysis, and incident response. The agency also works to strengthen the National Centers for Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity program, increasing participation and student knowledge.

3. Open Source Software

Open source software allows anyone with programming knowledge to view and modify the source code. This is said to make it more reliable because thousands of independent programmers can test and fix the software when bugs are detected.

It is also less costly than proprietary software. However, it may not include a warranty or liability indemnity, which can be problematic for companies with security policies requiring such coverage.

Other disadvantages of open source software include a lack of user-friendly interfaces and compatibility issues with third-party systems. It is also often not guaranteed by the distributing company to receive professional technical support. Those who use open source software should understand its hidden costs, such as hardware required to run the software and training for employees.

4. Cyber Mission Force

The Department of Defense is preparing its cyber workforce for the next wave of operations and campaigns. The Cyber Mission Force, which reached full operational capability in 2018, has 133 teams comprised of 6,200 people. It includes national mission teams that defend the nation from malicious cyber actors, cyber protection teams that protect the military’s information networks and support teams that conduct analytical and planning missions.

National mission teams operate within task forces aligned against specific threat actors, Goldstein and Major General William J. Hartman, commander of the Cyber National Mission Force, told RSA Conference attendees. They’re involved in global hunt operations and have played a key role defending the U.S. during elections and protecting critical infrastructure. They’re also tipped off to potential threats in cyberspace and can quickly take action.

5. Identity Proofing

Identity proofing uses automated solutions to verify that a person’s claimed identity matches their real-world identity. This type of identity verification is used by banks to confirm new accounts are being opened in the right name, schools to ensure students and staff are who they say they are, and the military to prevent impostors from joining.

Traditional knowledge-based authentication tests such as asking security questions (such as “what was your favorite vacation spot”) can be easily stolen by cybercriminals. In addition, many regulatory compliance mandates require the mapping of a claimed identity to a real-world identity for security and accountability reasons.

With the right technology, these processes can be performed automatically without human intervention. This creates a seamless, secure authentication experience for the user.

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