[ISN] We’re Saved! Experts Show How to Fix U.S. Cybersecurity

http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2014/05/were-saved-experts-show-how-fix-us-cybersecurity/83734/ By Patrick Tucker Defense One May 4, 2014 The date is April 4, 2015. A major cyberattack hits two generators in Florida, knocking out power in the cities of Coral Springs and St. Augustine, leading to multiple deaths and millions of dollars lost. One month later, Congress has to get a bill to the president to fix the vulnerability. But political gridlock, media histrionics and aggressive lobbying from industry makes passage of a bill far from certain. With this as their background, 350 members of the Truman National Security Project ran a massive simulation on Saturday to see if the United States was capable of passing legislation to fix the nation’s cyber vulnerabilities in the aftermath of a national crisis. In a few rooms at the Washington Plaza hotel, the simulation played out dramatically over the course of four hours. The feel was Washington, D.C., at hyper-speed. Five minutes into the experiment, a poll revealed the president’s approval rating falling to 35 percent, with the public trusting Republicans more than Democrats to handle cybersecurity. Rumors about the origin of the attack moved in whispers. Within ten minutes, business interests sought full liability protection for American utility companies and software providers. Players’ phones buzzed with push notifications from dueling press releases, news reports and polls, adding a realistic urgency to the action. The exercise represented something of a first in size and scope for legislative simulations, with players drawn from Hill staff, the cybersecurity field, and the military. In theory, it showed that Congress and the White House are capable of passing a cybersecurity bill with mandatory standards for industry. Matt Rhoades, director of the cyberspace and security program at Truman and the designer of the experiment, described it as an acid test to reveal the effectiveness of the White House’s recent Cybersecurity Framework, released in February. The framework is a set of practices and guidelines for utility companies, software designers and cybersecurity players to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from attack. […]