Commerce, DHS Release Report on Reducing Cyberattacks
Thursday, May 31, 2018 | Comments

The Department of Commerce and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a report that offers a guide to government, civil society and industry actions that would dramatically reduce the threat of botnets and similar cyberattacks.

The report, titled “Enhancing the Resilience of the Internet and Communications Ecosystem Against Botnets and Other Automated, Distributed Threats,” responds to an executive order on strengthening cybersecurity for federal networks and critical infrastructure that President Donald Trump signed last May.

“Through the actions outlined in this report, the Trump administration has proven to be up to the task of confronting and mitigating 21st century cyber threats,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Ensuring that our government and economy are safe from cyberattacks remains a top priority and having clear information about these continuing threats will help us better prepare to keep Americans, and their information, safe from our adversaries.”

The report lists five complementary goals that would improve the resilience of the internet ecosystem, as well as more than 20 suggested actions that key stakeholders can take to achieve those goals. The report recommends new initiatives such as increasing software component transparency and initiating a public campaign to support awareness of internet of things (IoT) security.

The report also highlights several ongoing activities that should be continued or expanded, including establishing federal procurement guidelines to provide market incentives for vendors that significantly reduce the incidence of security vulnerabilities.

The five complementary goals are:
• 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 automated distributed attacks;
• Promote and support coalitions between the security, infrastructure and operational technology communities domestically and around the world; and
• Increase awareness and education across the ecosystem.

The report calls for Commerce and DHS to further coordinate with industry and civil society in the development of a road map that prioritizes these actions in accordance with Trump administration priorities.

“Automated, distributed threats are a systemic challenge that no one actor — government or commercial — can solve,” said David Redl, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) administrator. “Over the past year, we heard from industry, government, academia and civil society on the importance of working together and developed a road map to protect the internet from botnets. Now, that we have itemized the challenges, we look forward to getting to work on concrete actions to accomplish these goals.”

As directed by the executive order, the report is the final result of a yearlong open and transparent process that included hosting two workshops, publishing two requests for comments and initiating an inquiry through the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC), which released a report of its own.

Those actions were aimed at gathering a broad range of input from experts and stakeholders, including industry, academia and civil society.

“As the world becomes more interconnected, it also becomes more difficult to secure and our work pursuant to EO 13800 will help the department confront this challenge,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. “One of DHS’ core missions is to protect our nation against cyber threats, and we are committed to achieving, with the help of our partners in the public and private sectors, a secure and resilient cyberspace.”

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