United States: New Cybersecurity Report Asks The Private Sector To Join Forces With The Government

Summary

The government is continuing to ask for more help from the private sector to defend against cyber attacks. The National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) recently published a report discussing current cyber threats and urging private companies and executives to join forces with the government to better address those threats. The report proposes "public-private and company-to-company information sharing of cyber threats at network speed," among other things discussed here.

In Depth

The National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) recently published a report that identifies cyber threats and urges private companies and executives to join forces with the government to better address those threats. See The President's National Infrastructure Advisory Council, Securing Cyber Assets, Addressing Urgent Cyber Threats to Critical Infrastructure (Aug. 15, 2017) (NIAC Report). Among other things, the report cites the lack of information sharing and coordination between private parties and various governmental bodies as a primary reason why the nation "remain[s] unable to move actionable information to the right people at the speed required by cyber threats." NIAC Report, at 5. According to NIAC, "it is imperative that Federal and private roles in defending these systems are aligned and mutually supportive." NIAC Report, at 5.

In short, the government is asking for private sector help in its fight against cyber attacks. NIAC's proposals include "public-private and company-to-company information sharing of cyber threats at network speed." NIAC Report, at 8. NIAC refers to risks associated with sharing "real-time system data with the Federal Government" including unspecified "significant business risks and liability" issues. NIAC Report, at 8. NIAC does not propose any specific way to alleviate those risks, but states that a pilot program should be used to "work through legal and liability barriers." NIAC Report, at 8. NIAC also makes some general references to incentives that could be provided to private parties for their participation. While NIAC does provide a number of useful suggestions, many of the issues that are most important to private sector participants are not described in detail. First, NIAC has not provided any specifics about the incentives the government would be willing to offer. Second, though NIAC has identified unspecified risks associated with sharing information with the government it has not provided any guidance about how to limit those risks.

The President Ordered a Review of the Nation's Cybersecurity System

On May 11, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13800 titled Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure. The president noted that "the executive branch has for too long accepted antiquated and difficult-to-defend IT." Exec. Order No. 13800, ¶ 1(b)(ii). The Executive Order also states that "known but unmitigated vulnerabilities are among the highest cybersecurity risks faced by executive departments and agencies" and the "known vulnerabilities include using operating systems or hardware beyond the vendor's support lifecycle, declining to implement a vendor's security patch, or failing to execute security-specific configuration guidance." Exec. Order No. 13800, ¶ 1(b)(iv).

NIAC was established in 2001 to advise the president on practical strategies for industry and government to reduce complex risks to the designated critical infrastructure sectors. In support of Executive Order No. 13800, the National Security Council asked NIAC to identify cybersecurity issues and examine "how Federal authorities and capabilities can best be applied to support cybersecurity of high-risk assets." NIAC Report, at 2. On August 15, 2017, NIAC issued its report.

NIAC's Report Asks Private Parties to Coordinate with the Government to Defend against Cyber Attacks

NIAC's Report contains a number of suggestions and requests for participation from private parties. The Report remarks that NIAC "believes the U.S. government and private sector collectively have the tremendous cyber capabilities and resources needed to defend critical private systems from aggressive cyber attacks—provided they are properly organized, harnessed, and focused. Today, we're falling short." NIAC Report, at 3, 5. Most of NIAC's suggestions relate to information sharing and the need for "the Federal Government to apply its collective authorities and capabilities in concert with the private sector." NIAC Report, at 5.

NIAC recommends a "private-sector-led pilot of machine-to-machine information sharing technologies" in order to "test public-private and company-to-company information sharing of cyber threats at network speed." NIAC Report, at 3. One key task that the NIAC recommends is to "work through legal and liability barriers that hamper or limit company-to-company and government-to-company sharing today." NIAC Report, at 8. The report notes that this sort of information sharing would require "significant trust regarding how information will be protected, shared, and used." NIAC Report, at 8. NIAC also notes that "leaked data creates significant business risks and liability protections are not court-tested." NIAC Report, at 8. NIAC makes various references to "business risks and liability protections," "legal and liability barriers that hamper or limit company-to-company and government-to-company sharing today" and "significant legal, liability, technology, trust, and cost challenges." NIAC Report, at 8, 15. However, NIAC does not provide any information as to what those business risks and liability barriers actually are and what private sector participants can do to alleviate those concerns.

It further recommends a public-private "task force of experts in government and the electricity, finance, and communications industries" and an "optimum cybersecurity governance approach to direct and coordinate the cyber defense of the nation." NIAC Report, at 4. NIAC states that the government "must champion cybersecurity with the private sector" and "direct an operational team of cross-agency, public-private staff to triage and make headway on the biggest needs." NIAC Report, at 17. NIAC also suggests detailed testing of the government's reactions to cyber incidents and to "invite executives and representatives from the Financial Services and Communications sectors to participate in exercise planning, ownership, and execution." NIAC Report, at 18. NIAC also recommends expedited declassification of cyber threat information to be shared with owners and operators of critical infrastructure. NIAC Report, at 4. It states that the present "inability to rapidly declassify and share the less-sensitive elements of a potential threat, like threat indicators or vulnerabilities, leaves private companies in the dark for too long." NIAC Report, at 14. To help with the declassification, NIAC also wants to "engage and embed cleared private sector representatives from the most critical infrastructure asserts in government intelligence and information sharing centers to help inform and prioritize information declassification." NIAC Report, at 14.

Incentives for Upgrading Cyber Infrastructure and Attempting to Increase the Cybersecurity Work Force

NIAC also references unspecified incentives that should be given to those private sector parties who strengthen cybersecurity infrastructures. It suggests "limited time, outcome-based market incentives that encourage owners and operators to upgrade cyber infrastructure, invest in state-of-the-art technologies, and meet industry standards or best practices." NIAC Report, at 12. NIAC also suggests that organizations should be incentivized to adopt the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (which was itself created "through collaboration between government and the private sector"). See National Institute of Standards and Technology, Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, Version 1.0 (Feb. 12, 2014). A draft version of a revised framework was released on January 10, 2017. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, Draft Version 1.1 (Jan. 10, 2017); NIAC Report, at 12. However, there are no specifics as to what incentives will be given or how "out-come based market incentives" could or would be determined. NIAC Report, at 12.

NIAC notes a shortfall of qualified cybersecurity professionals which it estimates will result in 1.8 million unfilled positions by 2011. NIAC Report, at 11. It suggests scholarships and sponsorship clearances for college-age prospective cyber professionals. NIAC Report, at 11. In this area too, NIAC suggests private sector participation stating that "federal cyber experts have a limited understanding of unique private sector systems, which limits their ability to provide technical assistance." NIAC Report, at 11. NIAC also recommends identifying and employing "best-in-class Scanning Tools and Assessment Practices" and streamlining and significantly expediting the Security Clearance Processes and declassification processes to ensure that key persons can "access secure facilities within one hour of a major threat or incident." NIAC Report, at 10, 13.

Conclusion

NIAC states that the "time to act is now" and "as a Nation, we need to move past simply studying our cybersecurity challenges and begin taking meaningful steps to improve our cybersecurity to prevent a major debilitating attack." NIAC Report, at 21. NIAC has doled out a number of tasks to various government agencies and requested significant assistance from private parties. However, the government has yet to give guidance to private sector participants related to the incentives it will offer and how to limit the unspecified liability concerns referenced in the NIAC Report. The private sector will need to continue waiting for guidance on these critical issues, each of which contributes to the lack of information sharing and increased cybersecurity infrastructure that NIAC hopes to address.

New Cybersecurity Report Asks The Private Sector To Join Forces With The Government

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions