RSAC 2015: UK and US Governments promote cyber security collaboration

Partnerships between the USA and UK are important not just for Government, but for other Governments and for private industry too.

Speaking at RSA Conference in San Francisco, Michael Daniel special assistant to the President and cyber security coordinator and Natalie Black, deputy director of the Office of Cyber Security & Information Assurance (OCSIA) at the Cabinet Office, were keen to promote initatives on enhancing skills, information sharing and success stories, such as the takedown of the GameOver Zeus botnet.

Daniel claimed that we are at a strategic inflection point where we are leveraging the internet to drive benefits to society, but said that if we don’t face the challenges it could become a liability than a strength.

“We are at a place like after World War Two where we don’t know the shape of the world and we were building institutions for the cold war and we are in the same place now; building institiutions to deal with cyber threat and this is what we will deal with for five to ten years,” he said.

“So I see it as the need to address 3 goals: raise issue of cyber in society for the short term and make it more secure over the longer term; develop the capability to disrupt and interrupt what the bad guys are doing; and develop incident response capabilities to make systems more resilient and capable.”

Black stressed the need for collaborating “across the pond” and learning from each other, while Daniel said that there was a need to promote “norms” of behaviour as we build the new world of the internet and retain it as a strategic asset.

Asked if the UK planned to introduce sanctions on those convicted of cyber crime as the US had done recently, Black said that from a UK perspective this is something it is following closely. “As we do not have a unilateral framework, we talking to UN and EU and continue to observe on this,” she said.

Both Black and Daniel were keen to talk up the concept of working with universities and improving skills, as Black said that this need only becomes clearer in the importance in managing things like Shellshock “which we cannot manage by ourselves”.

She said: “I feel optimistic about a great outcome in these scenarios and we were ready to work together at a fast speed given challenges over vulnerabilities discovered over past year.

Daniel acknowledged the paradox of employers wanting experience but graduates not having experience, and encouraged moreinternships and apprenticeship opportunities, while Black said that the expectation of workforce is global careers, but without a workforce we will be stuck so we as Governments needed to “invest time and ambition”.

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