Now that most of the election dust has settled, I think it is safe to say that this was the most cybersecurity-aware election season that we’ve ever witnessed. Clearly, not all of it was good cybersecurity awareness, as most of the talk was about hacked emails and the potential for hacked voting machines with little to no conversations about solutions or prevention.
I wanted cybersecurity to be a front-and-center issue and talking point, and I believe it needs to continue to be a talking point. Some, in fact, think the focus on cybersecurity needs to be not only a high priority but take on a sense of urgency. In fact, there are predictions that cybersecurity will become a national crisis in a matter of months and must be a focal point of the new president’s first 100-days agenda. As Anomali Director of Security Strategy Travis Farral told me in an email comment:
Moving forward, our new Commander in Chief will be faced with the most hostile cyber environment in history, one where every adversary on the planet is going to be focused on the U.S. government, its citizens and businesses. The security community has every reason to believe that, as Forrester recently predicted, the first 100 days of our new President’s administration will be faced with a full-blown cyber crisis that will not only test how well our national cyber defenses work but also whether the new administration has taken the issue seriously."
For example, Forrester analyst Amy DeMartine gave CNBC a rundown of possible cybersecurity scenarios we can expect to see early in 2017, including:
The new commander in chief will face pressure from foreign entities looking to embarrass them early on, just as U.S. government agencies jockey for position within the new administration.
The question is what systems and outlets will be most vulnerable to an attack. Will it be government agencies? Will it be a facility within the critical infrastructure? Will it be the financial system or media sites? This isn’t only a problem for the new president and new government to address, but also for IT and security and business leaders everywhere – are you prepared to withstand an attack from a nation-state, hitting your business directly or indirectly?
One of the more positive cybersecurity stories I’ve read, however, is that security may not be a victim of a lame-duck Congressional session. As Forbes reported, the attacks and threats of hacks were enough to worry Congress into introducing cybersecurity-focused amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal told the publication:
Cyber attacks are an ever-growing threat to our national security. As the Internet touches more aspects of our work and daily lives, our military must be equipped to defend and protect our nation.
It’s a start. It won’t solve all of the problems, but at least now we are more aware and more willing to take action.
Sue Marquette Poremba has been writing about network security since 2008. In addition to her coverage of security issues for IT Business Edge, her security articles have been published at various sites such as Forbes, Midsize Insider and Tom's Guide. You can reach Sue via Twitter: @sueporemba