In the wake of the intelligence community report that Russia hacked public and private entities in an effort to influence the Presidential election, it is no longer a hypothetical that cyber-warfare and cybersecurity vulnerabilities are a threat to US companies, organizations, and political leaders. Reportedly, major companies with sophisticated cyber-defenses who were affected by this effort helped trace the origin of the recent attacks to Russia. Earlier, North Korea originated a cyber-attack on Sony Pictures, responding to the release of a film it found objectionable. In both cases, the cyber-attacks penetrated private networks, captured confidential information, and released that information in a strategic attempt to embarrass the attacked party and, in the most recent case, to influence an election. In all cases, the attack itself was hardly sophisticated.
For policymakers, companies, and citizens, cybersecurity now involves a range of threats, from hackers, criminals, and nation-states. On the policy front, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) encourages companies to share information related to attacks and relevant defensive measures and provides them immunity in return, but public-private collaboration in this area has considerable room for improvement. The current Department of Homeland Security Secretary, General John F. Kelly, emphasized this point in his confirmation hearing, calling for more attention to this area. For US companies, the reality that they are on the front lines of attacks from nation-states is a worrisome prospect and raises questions around how they can prepare for such threats.
In her talk, Juliette Kayyem, a former Homeland Security official and Professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, will discuss the lessons from the DNC hack, the government’s emerging responses to cybersecurity, and how governments, companies and citizens should react.
Moderated by Phil Weiser. Lunch will be provided by Perkins Coie, LLP.