the eighth annual Billington CyberSecurity Summit
We're back in Washington today for the annual Billington CyberSecurity Summit.
The event has attracted approximately a thousand attendees, with speakers from ten countries. We'll be providing continuing coverage this week, with live tweeting (#Billingtonsummit) from the conference.
The view from the US Director of National Intelligence.
Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats (delivering the opening keynote in a pleasantly self-deprecating tone) highlighted the importance of systematic and well-structured information-sharing to protecting a critical infrastructure that's increasingly connected and thoroughly pervaded by the Internet-of-things.
He began by alluding to the expanding array of international threats, cyber threats prominently among them, and reviewed the familiar classes of threat actors, singling out, in approximate order of severity, the threat from Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.
A "cyber 911," a major attack on critical infrastructure, he takes to be a real possibility. Increasing connectivity is amplifying the consequences of any attack. Coats placed unusual emphasis on the danger of attacks aimed at corrupting data. Such an emphasis is consistent with his overall emphasis on the adversaries' goal: erosion of public trust.
The DNI assured the audience that the Intelligence Community is doing all it can to deliver actionable intelligence to its partners. But he argued that such intelligence is actionable only when it is collaborative and understood in the context of vulnerabilities. Thus, he said, improved information sharing among government and the private sector is an imperative.
Coats thinks such sharing has become needlessly complex. He called for a common approach and a common vocabulary to facilitate collaboration, and he added that the ODNI's model for moving toward these is no secret. A common, structured, hierarchical approach will help all parties, he said.
His other major concern with respect to cyber lies in fostering security by design, which he regards as essential given the rapid proliferation of Internet-of-things devices across everyone's networks.
DNI Coats closed by inviting the private sector to join in fostering collaborative information sharing and security by design. The Intelligence Community is limited in what it can say publicly, but he wished to assure everyone that the IC is working professionally, objectively, and on good close terms with the Administration.