Cyber attacks and organized cyber criminal activities will emerge as the greatest to national security over the next decade said FBI Director James Comey in Senate testimony, who urged better public/private cooperation to thwart threats.
“Private sector companies are the primary victims of cyber-intrusions and they also possess the information, the expertise and the knowledge to address cyber-intrusions,” Comey stated during a hearing held by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Key to combating the increasing digital-based threats is the development of systems for the rapid sharing of threat intelligence between both government agencies and those in the private sector, Comey testified.
“We must fuse private-sector information with information from the intelligence community and develop channels for sharing information and intelligence quickly and effectively,” Comey said, noting that the private sector is a “key player in cyber-security.”
Comey’s statements echoed those made recently by soon to depart NSA chief Kieth Alexander who made the appeal for threat intelligence sharing at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit in September during his keynote address.
“We need the authority for us to share with them and them to share with us. But because some of that information is classified, we need a way to protect it,” Alexander said. “Right now, we can’t see what’s happening in real time. We’ve got to share it with them, and potentially with other countries.”
Comey urged lawmakers to “create incentives for [the] private sector to collaborate” with federal authorities, a strategy that is favored by many private sector trade associations and advocates like the Internet Security Alliance (ISA), who favors incentivization over increased regulatory mandates.