DHS, DOC Release Draft Report on Cybersecurity Threats
Friday, January 05, 2018 | Comments

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a draft report to President Donald Trump in response to the May 11, 2017 Presidential Executive Order on Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure.

“Cybersecurity is perhaps one of the most serious threats we face,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “President Trump understands the necessity of strengthening our networks and this administration is doing everything in its power to prevent bad actors from infiltrating our critical cyber infrastructure.”

The report, which was created with broad input from stakeholders and experts, summarizes the opportunities and challenges in reducing the botnet threat, and offers supporting actions to be taken by both the government and private sector in order to reduce the threat of automated cyberattacks. The report lists five complementary goals that would improve the resilience of the ecosystem:
• Identify a clear pathway toward an adaptable, sustainable and secure technology marketplace
• Promote innovation in the infrastructure for dynamic adaptation to evolving threats
• Promote innovation at the edge of the network to prevent, detect and mitigate bad behavior
• Build coalitions between the security, infrastructure and operational technology communities domestically and around the world
• Increase awareness and education across the ecosystem

“Botnets represent a systemwide threat that no single stakeholder, not even the federal government, can address alone,” said Walter G. Copan, under secretary of commerce for standards and technology and director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). “The report recommends a comprehensive way for the public and private sectors, as well as our international partners, to work together and strengthen our defenses.”

A botnet is a network of devices connected to the internet infected by a bot and is used to perform distributed denial of service (DDoS) and other cyberattacks.

“Botnets threaten to undermine the internet ecosystem as well as the promise of next-generation technologies,” said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Administrator David Redl. “This report clearly demonstrates the urgency of the problem and this Administration’s commitment to taking on these threats and creating a more secure and sustainable Internet.”

The report identifies six principal themes:
• Automated, distributed attacks are a global problem.
• Effective tools exist, but are not widely used.
• Products should be secured during all stages of the lifecycle.
• Education and awareness is needed.
• Market incentives are misaligned.
• Automated, distributed attacks are an ecosystem-wide challenge.

The Department of Commerce is requesting comment on the report, seeking a response to the issues raised and goals it identifies, as well as the proposed approach, current initiatives and next steps.

Following the comment period, DOC will host a two-day workshop to discuss ways forward. The workshop will be held February 28 and March 1 at the NIST’s National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence in Rockville, Maryland. A final report, incorporating comments and other feedback received, is due to the president May 11.

All interested stakeholders are encouraged to comment on the draft report. Comments must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on February 12, 2018. Written comments may be submitted by email to Counter_Botnet@list.commerce.gov. Find the full draft report here.

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