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#DEFCON DHS Says Collaboration Needed for Secure Infrastructure and Elections

Speaking at DEFCON 26 in Las Vegas on the subject of “Securing our Nation's Election Infrastructure”, Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary, Office of Cybersecurity and Communications from the Department of Homeland Security stressed the need for public and private sector collaboration.

She said that “instead of thinking of individual risk and your own part, try to think about enterprise and government as a whole.”

In terms of critical infrastructure, Manfra said that this is “purely voluntary in the private sector” and includes “everyone working for yourself or your company, and this includes academic institutions and the broader private and public partnership to work together to figure our critical infrastructure.”

She went on to talk about the concept of collective defense, saying that government is “one player in the community,” and with companies and citizens on the front line with government sectors “we have to share information and be transparent and build trust with individuals and entities that we have not done before.”

This was part of finding ways to cooperate on capabilities as “adversaries have taken advantage for a long time” and ways need to be found to reverse the fight.

Looking back at the 2016 election, Manfra said that prior to that attackers had been trying to hack the election process “for decades”, and while it was very difficult to manipulate an election, those running elections are not the most resourced, so the challenge had to be on how to help them ensure their security and use best practices for when they deal with old technology and software.

Joking that she “yearns for the days when only the electricity went out,” Manfra said that adversaries “undermine the traditional concept of democracy, of intellectual property, of privacy, of business and if we don’t come together sand figure out how collectively defend, they are going to turn the internet into a model that suits their concept.”

Speaking at DefCon 26 in Las Vegas on the subject of “Securing our Nation's Election Infrastructure”, Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary, Office of Cybersecurity and Communications from the Department of Homeland Security stressed the need for public and private sector collaboration. Saying that “instead of thinking of individual risk and your own part, try to think about enterprise and government as a whole.”

In terms of critical infrastructure, Manfra said that this is “purely voluntary in private sector” and includes “everyone working for yourself or your company, and this includes academic institutions and the broader private and public partnership to work together to figure our CNI.”

She went on to talk about the concept of collective defense, saying that government is “one player in the community,” and with companies and citizens on the front line with government sectors “we have to share information and be transparent and build trust with individuals and entities that we have not done before.”

This was part of finding ways to cooperate on capabilities as “adversaries have taken advantage for a long time” and ways need to be found to reverse the fight.

Looking at the 2016 elections, Manfra said that prior to the 2016 elections, attackers had been trying to hack the election process “for decades”, and while it was very difficult to manipulate an election, those running elections are not the most resourced, so the challenge had to be on how to help them ensure their security and use best practices for when they deal with old technology and software.

Joking that she “yearns for the days when only the electricity went out,” Manfra said that adversaries “undermine the traditional concept of democracy, of intellectual property, of privacy, of business and if we don’t come together sand figure out how collectively defend, they are going to turn the internet into a model that suits their concept.”

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