ConEd

Obama Will Propose New Efforts to Make Our Creaky Physically Dangerous Critical Infrastructure CyberSafe

One of Obama’s key proposals in tonight’s State of the Union will be yet another effort to shore up the cybersecurity of our critical infrastructure.

As a threshold matter, I find it a remarkable coinkydink that the WaPo just reported the leaked findings of an NIE saying that the Chinese (and Israelis and Russians and the French, but the Chinese are bigger and badder, apparently) continue to rob us blind via cybertheft. I look forward to learning whether this — unlike the convenient drone rule book leaks supporting John Brennan’s confirmation — get reported as sanctioned leaks, as required under the Intelligence Authorization.

And speaking of John Brennan, he’s the Homeland Security Czar. A big part of his job is keeping us safe from precisely these kinds of attacks. So why didn’t he get a single question about why he should be CIA Director considering he has been such an abject failure keeping us safe from cyberattacks? (He was asked a question about CIA’s role in cybersecurity, but not asked to explain why he has been such a failure in his current role.)

Now, frankly, I don’t know that that is much John Brennan’s fault. Folks will say that the problem is — as it has been since Richard Clarke first started fearmongering on this front — that corporations won’t participate willingly and no one is going to make them.

But the proposal — which you’ll see if you tune in — doesn’t change that. It’s still voluntary.

And here’s the thing that all the cyberexperts in the world seem to be missing. Not only are the private owners of our critical infrastructure unwilling to fix their cyberdefenses. They’re not willing to keep their brick and mortar infrastructure up to date either. See, for example, PG&E or ConEd‘s recent records, for example.

Look, if these companies refuse to keep up their physical infrastructure and their cyber infrastructure, there’s probably an underlying reason motivating their negligence that no amount of immunity or winks or risk-free information sharing on the cyber side is going to fix. Moreover, if they are physically fundamentally unsafe, no amount of tinkering with their cybersecurity is going to make them safe. They’ll be vulnerable to a terrorist attack and be vulnerable to not entirely random failures and explosions.

You need to solve the underlying problem if you want to keep our critical infrastructure safe. And yet another EO, particularly one limited to cybersecurity and not affect brick and mortar integrity, will not do that.

Updated: Reading Obama’s longer proposal, it does aim to increase the “resiliency” of our physical infrastructure too. So it is not limited to cyber. That said, the underlying problem remains. Private companies aren’t spending the money to invest in this, whether it is physical resilience (or bare minimum functionality) or cyberdefense.

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel RT @shephardm: Our #documentary "Prisoners of the Absurd" on #Guantanamo's Uyghur detainees makes world premiere in Montreal: http://t.co/U
1hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @GarethPorter: Iran's Atomic Energy Agency claims defeat of US-Israeli sabotage, shows AP system to detect malware & cyber attacks. http…
2hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV C'mon, internet, you can do this! I'm only nine followers away from a thousand...
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @JayAckroyd Told the family that lives in other side of duplex abt the blowjob comment. You know. On NBC channel. @stuart_zechman
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @micheal_lunny I see what you did there. @MonaHol
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz After a long day at court, my wife has expressed a desire to treat me "Like a King". I am going to eat it up! http://t.co/mCrWTPWhVp
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @davidsirota: BREAKING: Chicago Mayor @RahmEmanuel Received $100k From Comcast Before Publicly Pushing Comcast Merger http://t.co/mfdFfA
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @Krhawkins5 See also Shock and Awe.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @MonaHol Also, Palestinians should in no circumstances be isolated unto themselves to seethe in hatred, not even in open-air prison.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Think ACLU is reverse-dragnetting Feds. They're going to join challenges in every Circuit until they defeat dragnet. http://t.co/73WE3aIAkO
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @billmon1 Somehow Cass did not search for the root of Israeli support for violence against Palestinian targets. @MonaHol
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @MonaHol Don't worry. Cass Sunstein has solution for what he describes as Palestinians' support for violence v Israel http://t.co/fQc01eJw1I
3hreplyretweetfavorite
September 2014
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930