By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 3, 2014 – Cybersecurity threats are a vital issue for the nation, and like the Defense Department, businesses must own the problem to successfully carry out their missions, DOD’s top cybersecurity expert told a forum of businesspeople today.
Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers, commander of U.S. Cyber Command, director of the National Security Agency and chief of the Central Security Service, addressed cybersecurity concerns in an interview with Trish Regan of Bloomberg Television at Bloomberg Government’s Cybersecurity Summit.
Corporations must successfully deal with cybersecurity threats, because such threats can have direct impacts on business and reputation, Rogers told the business audience.
“You have to consider [cybersecurity threats] every bit as foundational as we do in our ability to maneuver forces as a military construct,” he said.
“When I look at the problem set, I’m struck by a couple things that I highlight with my business counterparts,” Rogers said. “Traditionally, we’ve largely been focused on attempts to prevent intrusions. I’ve increasingly come to the opinion that we must spend more time focused on detection.” The admiral encouraged business people to spend time considering what they need to maximize detection capabilities.
Using a federal government example, Rogers pointed out that the nation has a vested interest in critical infrastructures such as the finance, power, fuel and transportation sectors to ensure uninterrupted operations. “These are sectors of increased critical importance to our ability as a nation to function effectively,” he said.
Regan asked Rogers what business people should do in the event of suspected cybersecurity threats.
“Coming together as a partnership is where we can become very powerful,” Rogers said of DOD and the business community. And the critical step in tackling cybersecurity threats is acknowledging that they exist, he noted.
Further, he said, he is in favor of proposed legislation would provide a structure for the corporate world and the federal government to share information to battle cybersecurity issues.
The general told the business audience that some extremist groups would like to see the United States cease to exist.
“If we change who we are, what we believe and what we represent in the name of security, [adversaries] have won,” he said.
“In trying to achieve that level of security, you have to acknowledge the threat exists. We’ve been very successful in forestalling [many] things as citizens you will never ever know about. It is the nature of intelligence; it is nature of our business.”
On an individual level, Rogers said, society must come to grips with what privacy means in the digital age of the 21st century, Rogers said.
“By choice and by chance, we are forfeiting privacy that I don’t think as individuals we fully understand,” he said.
“Like it or not, we’re in the digital age in the world of big data,” the admiral continued. “And we increasingly as a nation have got to come to grips with what that means and what we’re comfortable with. That is a much broader dialogue I think we need to have. The idea that you can be totally anonymous in the digital age is increasingly difficult to execute.”