A Week Without Cyber Awareness Makes One Weak

Let’s get as cyber real as real gets. The current political leadership is a distraction to the work and vision of national cyber resilience.  If you are a cyber professional, you must be confused about the U.S. geopolitical approach to cyber awareness and network resilience. If you are a person with low cyber aptitude, you must be confused, no matter your political persuasion.

Let’s get this straight. 

At a United Nations speech, a couple of years ago, President Donald Trump proclaimed that China interfered in our elections.  This statement was a declaration that departed from the pronouncement; the Russians had executed a full-blown plan to manipulate U.S. voters and exploit vulnerabilities in the voting machine apparatus.  He now says Ukraine interfered in our elections even with all intelligence agencies saying differently. 

So, is it the Russia Chinese….. or Ukraine?

A later date following the President’s pronouncement, the Secretary of Homeland Security advised that China did not interfere in our elections.  This was also the case last fall. At a cybersecurity summit that was held in New York, the Under-Secretary (now CISA), and the U.S. Vice President both announced Russia hacked elections.  No wonder our major military forces and foes are trying to run the score up on our divided country. The Vice President and the Under Secretary of the Homeland Security cybersecurity apparatus are calling the President a liar. 

Hold on Mike, what did you just say?  

Here are the facts, compared with their Russian counterparts, Chinese intelligence officers historically have tried to position the country’s in the global policy world by cultivating relationships that will pay dividends long-term.  The idea of them pursuing the disinformation play is not aligned with what we have learned through INTELLIGENCE. On the other hand, Russian operations tend to try and divide and conquer. A trick all Americans learn at an early age but can’t recognize it when used against us. 

Here are more facts.  Cybersecurity experts have never wavered and have warned for years about known vulnerabilities. A failure to use risk-based approaches to cyber preparedness is a losing formula.  Interestingly, American exceptionalism is about expecting US to win simply because we are American. 

The successful attacks on State election systems across the nation should be a wake-up call that we are behind in this game.  We should be getting pumped right about now. It is the fourth quarter, and the momentum’s not with our team.  The other team is reaching our play-caller at will. The enemy exploits holes in our line because we are looking to block a guy downfield and letting the guy in our face run right in to take the ball. The future will come as soon as it does; this is despite a lack of leadership assuring our readiness. 

While all of this political confusion is being overlayered over a vulnerable and susceptible critical network of infrastructure, the digital systems are simultaneously weakening.  Our processes and determinations about how we should pursue a quickly evolving Internet of Things world are floundering.  

We are putting ourselves in a position where our defense can’t get off the field.  It will not be long before the best defenders wear down and tire out. It will not be long before the work put forth to build our team is for naught.  Every person and partner will begin reaching for their stats and looking to cash-in. This beginning of this selfishness is when we all lose. We will then be no less selfish than our leadership.

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