US Department of Homeland Security unveils five point strategy to combat cyber risk

By Cameron Abbott and Sarah Goegan

This week, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its Cybersecurity Strategy. The five “pillar” strategy will be executed by the DHS over the next five years, and aims to improve national cybersecurity risk management.

The shifting cyber threat landscape has seen governments face both state and non-state actors launching attacks on cyberspace. A major concern is the increasing sophistication of the resources used by non-state actors, which allows them to use modern information and communications technologies to develop a transnational reach. Resources like ransomware, the Darkweb (which facilitates the easy sale of illicit goods and services like malware), and the popularity of cryptocurrencies (which can be used for money laundering), raise concerns about the ability to use technology to facilitate crime. This threat is only increasing: by 2020, it is expected that more than 20 billion devices will be connected to the internet!

The DHS strategy involves:

  1. improving the ability to assess, and maintain awareness of, cybersecurity risks, and better prioritise risk-management activities;
  2. protecting US Federal Government networks with adequate cybersecurity measures, making them less vulnerable to attack;
  3. reducing cyber threats by countering transnational criminal organisations and cyber criminals;
  4. coordinating community-wide response efforts that involves information sharing between incident responders – affected entities, asset responders and intelligence agencies; and
  5. strengthening the security and reliability of the “cyber ecosystem” through policies and activities that foster resilient networks, by improving global cybersecurity risk management and executing domestic policies in an integrated way.

The policy has been released ahead of the 2018 mid-term elections, which US authorities expect will be the subject of hacking attempts. It will be interesting to see if this strategy is successful in preventing attacks.

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