At a Glance.
- New German cybersecurity chief addresses reporters on policy.
- CIA head speaks on the future of US intelligence.
- Cyber provisions in the US’s annual defense policy bill.
New German cybersecurity chief addresses reporters on policy.
Germany’s new president of the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), Claudia Plattner, assumed her role last week, and one of her first actions in her new position was a formal presentation to journalists on the country’s cybersecurity landscape. During her remarks, Plattner said that Germany is experiencing an increase in attacks from Russia, China, and Iran targeting critical infrastructure, and that the country needs to focus on ways to better defend itself from these threats. The BSI’s powers are currently limited to providing administrative support for cyberattacks, but German news outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung reported last week that the BSI minister Nancy Faeser, has plans to give the cybersecurity agency greater authority. The Record notes that Plattner joined the BSI after former president Arne Schönbohm exited amidst allegations he had ties with Protelion, a business linked to the Russian intelligence services. An investigation was conducted, but Schönbohm was removed from office before its conclusion.
CIA head speaks on the future of US intelligence.
In an essay published in the Washington Post, US Director of Central Intelligence William J. Burns offers his thoughts on the future of intelligence. He says that in addition to geopolitical competition from world powers like Russia and China, the US is facing unprecedented challenges posed by developments in technology. According to Burns, the world is experiencing “a revolution in technology more profound than the Industrial Revolution or the dawn of the nuclear age.” He notes that the US has historically been a leader in technology and as such has set a precedent for technological standards and safeguards. He adds that the US used its first video post to Telegram to inform Russians on how to contact US officials on the dark web to share intelligence. He also notes that ubiquitous technical surveillance has made it harder for intelligence officials working overseas, but when used to the US’s advantage, newly developed tech can provide officials with unprecedented capabilities. “When harnessed properly, AI can find patterns and trends in vast amounts of open-source and clandestinely acquired data that the human mind can’t,” Burns writes, “freeing up our officers to focus on what they do best: providing reasoned judgments and insights on what matters most to policymakers and what means most for our interests.”
Cyber provisions in the US’s annual defense policy bill.
The US House of Representatives is scheduled this week to finalize the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and the Washington Post offers an overview of what cyber provisions to expect. Among the amendments are a proposal to authorize increased cybersecurity collaboration with several Middle Eastern countries, a call for a comprehensive study of 2020’s SUNBURST attack, and a threat assessment from the the Department of Homeland Security on cyber harassment from foreign threats. Representative Mike Gallagher, a Republican out of Wisconsin, chairs the House Armed Services subcommittee, which advanced the portion of the NDAA most heavily focused on cybersecurity. He says this section of the bill “focuses Defense leadership on actually integrating commercial technology — not just developing it — [and] improves their cybersecurity posture through better visibility into networks and endpoints, develops metrics to measure the Department’s success at transitioning technologies, and hardens academic research security from intellectual property thieves, like the Chinese Communist Party.” One provision calls for the creation of an office under the chief information officer that would focus on collaboration with academia, and another gives the Department of Defense the authority to receive voluntary cybersecurity support from experts in the private sector. As well, the Armed Services Committee has adopted an amendment to establish a working group to inventory nuclear systems with the greatest cybersecurity risks, along with an amendment focused on helping Taiwan defend itself against attacks from China.