Huffington Post

The Need for Private-Public Partnerships Against Cyber Threats — Why A Good Offense May be Our Best Defense.

January 1, 2016

By Daniel B. Garrie & David Lawrence

Private-Public Partnerships Against Cyber Threats

The Internet has delivered on its promise of social and economic progress. Unfortunately, it has also delivered unprecedented opportunities for scaling global conflict, terrorism, criminal activity, state and industrial espionage and vandalism. These risks continue to expand.

Cybersecurity is a multidimensional problem that transcends the risk management and response capabilities of any single enterprise, industry, or sector. No enterprise, industry or sector has an answer or even a claim to superiority regarding cybersecurity threats. There is a simple operational premise that informs expert thinking about our exposure to the risks of cyber-attacks. “If you can imagine it, they can do it. And even if you can’t imagine it, they have — and are working on it.”

The costs of cyber attacks–financial, legal and reputational– for organizations, businesses, and government agencies are growing at an alarming rate. The consensus annual cost of cyber-attacks to the global economy is around $445 billion. Even the most sophisticated enterprises know that it is not a matter of “if” they will be hit, but when and how bad. This means our money, intellectual property, private communications, market sensitive data, and identities remain at constant risk.

The fact of the matter is that the solution to the problem of growing cyber threats is not simply a technology “patch”. Cybersecurity has never really been a technology question to begin with. Technology and its digital portals are simply the newest conduits for a widening range of individual, group and state-sponsored actors seeking the familiar criminal and geopolitical ends of theft, fraud, espionage, extortion and destruction. Playing only defense against the sources of cyber threats has proven to be an expensive zero-sum game of Whack-a-Mole.

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