Additional public information about the developing cybersecurity policy can be found in an interview with DNI McConnell in the Jan 21, 2008, issue of The New Yorker. In it, interviewer Lawrence Wright describes McConnellâ€™s path to prioritizing cybersecurity, the scale of the challenge to secure both government and private networks, and some of the unique characteristics of the plan that invoke privacy concerns. As noted in yesterday’s post, the President requested $436 million to fund cybersecurity initiatives likely to be driven by this strategy.
â€¢ In May 2007, at a meeting with the President and several cabinet members, McConnell asked for authority to wage information warfare against the tech savvy insurgents in Iraq. McConnell identified computer-network defense as an area in which the U.S. was under-invested. The President then charged McConnell to craft a security strategy, not only for government systems but also for American industry and private individuals.
â€¢ McConnellâ€™s Cybersecurity Policy, which is still in draft, recommends reducing the access points between government computers and the Internet from two thousand to fifty.
â€¢ McConnell expresses concern about private sector defense. â€œThe real question is what to do about industry,â€ McConnell is quoted as saying. He continues, â€œNinety-five per cent of this is a private-sector problem.â€
â€¢ McConnell suggests that the â€œreal problem is the [cyber crime] perpetrator who doesnâ€™t care about stealing [money] â€”he just wants to destroy.â€
â€¢ Privacy protections are considered to be in conflict with enhanced security. A contributor to the strategy and long-time collaborator with McConnell says that the government needs the authority to examine the content of any e-mail, file transfer, or Web search.Â Citing a maxim among the info-sec community, he concluded that â€œPrivacy and security are a zero-sum game.â€
â€¢ Aware of the difficulties in obtaining new powers for security measures, McConnell says that â€œFISA reform will be a walk in the park compared to thisâ€¦.â€