Strengthening cybersecurity: harnessing technology to protect the U.S.

March 18, 2016 | Cybersecurity Rep. Zach Nunn,

The future of the Internet rests on one critical factor: cybersecurity. Right here in Iowa, we are vulnerable to those who wish to steal, disrupt and destroy our intellectual property, personal information and the core infrastructure that keeps our nation functioning. State Rep. Zach Nunn formerly served as director of cybersecurity on the National Security Council, White House, and as the lead cyber counterintelligence officer for the U.S. intelligence community from 2008 to 2013. Today he works as a cyberintelligence consultant. These are his top three priorities for cybersecurity in 2016.

Create Public-Private Partnership and Remove Barriers to Innovation

The U.S. government and businesses must continue to work together as allies to improve cybersecurity in a way that respects citizens’ privacy. As partners, we should look to reform liability laws so that timely information sharing of threats can be facilitated. The government must not be an obstacle to innovation. While cyberthreats are ever present, creative invention is the first and best method to help the government and private sector grow operability and countermeasures with confidence.

Restore Accountability

In 2015, the U.S. government reported that 22 million Americans’ sensitive personal data was stolen in a cyberhack – one of the largest thefts of targeted personal information in history – and it was likely orchestrated by Chinese operators. It is only the latest in a series of deep network intrusions into U.S. systems in recent years, including Russia’s compromise of White House and State Department secure servers via a campaign of cyber¬espionage, and Iran’s distributed network attacks against U.S. financial institutions. Elected officials, as well as CEOs, CIOs and CISOs, must work together as leaders to ensure accountability and operability for the nation’s interdependent networks.

Focus on Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a critical element of our national defense and economic well-being. As the director of national intelligence high- lighted in 2016, cyber remains our nation’s first dependency and greatest vulnerability. We need to preserve and enhance the capabilities of the U.S. intelligence community and law enforcement to identify, deter and respond to cyberattacks as part of an integrated strategy built on protecting the symbiotic systems and computers operating our country. Advances within the law will help strength- en efforts to expose, prosecute and retaliate against cyberthreat actors. Equally, innovation and private-sector safeguards remain the vanguard for alerting citizens and repelling a cyberattack. Mutual cooperation and prioritized investment in cybersecurity ensure that all of us operate with the greatest resilience.