DHS identifies key building blocks for more secure, resilient networks

“If these building blocks were incorporated into cyber devices and processes, cyber stakeholders would have significantly stronger means to identify and respond to threats—creating and exchanging trusted information and coordinating courses of action in near real time”, wrote Philip Reitinger, DHS deputy under secretary for national protection and programs directorate, in a blog. Reitinger coordinated the work of 13 federal agencies in producing the paper.

The white paper compares cybersecurity to the human body’s immune system, which includes layered defenses and countermeasures, specialized roles, methods for rapidly identifying attackers, surge capabilities, and the ability to learn and rapidly adapt. “Here, cyber equivalent functions might include threat and incident watch, data dissemination, threat analysis, intervention recommendations, and coordination of preventive actions.”

A “healthy” cyber ecosystem might employ an “automation strategy of fixed, local defenses supported by mobile and global defenses at multiple levels.” In addition, interoperability can “broaden and strengthen collaboration, create new intelligence, hasten and spread learning, and improve situational awareness.” Finally, authentication can “improve trust in ways that enhance privacy and decision making,” the paper said.

Reitinger stressed that the white paper is intended to stimulate thought and discussion; it is not intended to present DHS cybersecurity strategy. “DHS intends to leverage the expertise of representatives from industry, academia and other government agencies as we work to understand cyber threats and manage risk in cyberspace”, he concluded.

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