Word Notes 3.29.22
Ep 93 | 3.29.22

Shields Up (noun)


Rick: The word is: Shields up.

Rick: Spelled: Shield for a guard place between you and a dangerous foe and up as in to put in place. 

Rick: Definition one: Noun, a condition announced by the us cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency, CISA to draw attention to a temporary period of high alert associated with expectation of a connected wave of cyber attacks prompted by either a widespread vulnerability or an unusually active and capable threat actor. 

Rick: Definition two: Verb, an imperative to increase in organization's defenses and resilience against cyber attack by applying best practices. 

Rick: Example sentence: Now, more than ever, organizations must put their shields up to protect against cyber intrusions, 

Rick: Origin and context: The US government passed the cyber security and infrastructure security agency act in 2018. 

Rick: According to Cynthia Brumfield writing for CSO online the next year, quote, the legislation rebranded the department of Homeland securities, national protection and programs, directorate, or N P P D as the cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency and transferred resources and responsibilities from N P P D to the newly created agency end quote.

Rick: In July, 2021, Jen easterly took over as the director and in February of 20 22, 2 days after Russia began its Ukraine, military invasion, Easterly issued CISA's first shields up warning for us based organizations stating quote, every organization, large and small must be prepared to respond to disruptive cyber activity end quote. It's important to note that other nations have their version of the shields up program too, but for this program, director Easterly offered guidance in four broad categories.

Rick: Number one, reduce the likelihood of a damaging cyber intrusion. Number two, take steps to quickly detect a potential intrusion. Number three, ensure that the organization is prepared to respond if an intrusion occurs and, four maximize the organization's resilience to a destructive cyber incident. 

Rick: Mostly though the shields up webpage is a clearing house for information and intelligence from the US government regarding the current cyber situation in Ukraine and how all organizations can protect themselves from a potential Russian cyber attack in the near future. 

Rick: Nerd reference: The phrase shields up is tailor made for the perfect word notes episode. It's an expression specifically made for the cybersecurity community by CISA and pulled directly from pop culture. 

Rick: Of course, the phrase is taken from the long running Star Trek and TV movie franchise that has been providing nerd culture content for almost 60 years. 

Rick: Shields up is ordered by all starship captains in the franchise when their vessels are in danger, and it refers to an energy force field bubble that surrounds the ship and protects it against enemy weapons like phasers, and flying objects, and that's the reason for the CISA shields up program. At the time of this publishing the threat of Russia, cyber operations against the US is highly likely so much so that president Biden has told the country to improve their cyber defenses now. In other words, shields up. 

Rick: This clip is from arguably the best Star Trek movie in the cannon, 1982 star Trek two, the wrath of con, and I will die on that particular nerd hill. I look forward to your letters. 

Rick: It's a complicated clip, but you'll hear William Shatner as captain Kirk hesitating to raise his shields as a friendly, but suspicious vessel approaches. 

Rick: You'll also hear Kirstie Alley, Nichelle Nichols, the late great Leonard Ni moy, Judson Scott, and the absolutely fabulous Ricardo Montalban, playing Kirk's opponent captain, Khan. Kirk is an experienced captain and knows better than to leave his shields down in suspect situations, but he does it anyway, 

Rick: Khan, sneaks up, and takes a devastatingly cheap shot at the U.S.S enterprise 

Rick: Word Notes is written by me, Rick Howard executive produced by Peter Kilpe, and edited by John Petrik, the mix, sound design and original music have all been crafted by the ridiculously talented Elliott Peltzman. Thanks for listening.