Risk

3/15/2011
03:08 PM
50%
50%

DHS Seeks Cybersecurity Help from Engineers, Scientists

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the agency wants to collaborate with experts in various fields to help it tackle security and managing the flow of information.

Inside DHS' Classified Cyber-Coordination Headquarters
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Inside DHS' Classified Cyber-Coordination Headquarters

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking help from the private sector -- including experts from the engineering and science fields -- to help it solve a series of problems related to cybersecurity and the immense flow of information the department deals on an every-day basis.

Speaking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) this week, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said that it will take more than the work of the department and its IT team to solve the problems of the varied work the DHS is doing to secure borders and U.S. critical infrastructure, among other tasks. Her remarks are available online.

"At DHS, we are constantly asking and trying to answer some important questions: How do we keep travel and trade flowing across borders while at the same time enhancing security? How do we secure our nation's critical infrastructure when the vast majority of it is in private hands?" she said. "The answers to many of these questions involve harnessing science and technology to better meet our homeland security needs."

Perhaps more than any other agency, the DHS must work with myriad partners in both local and state governments as well as the private sector to accomplish its mission.

Particularly in the area of cybersecurity, the agency has set up partnerships through a series of fusion centers and joint terrorism task forces around the country to share intelligence information to protect critical infrastructure. The work includes collaborating with both private and public organizations.

Citing this "long tradition in our country of creating problem-solving partnerships between government and our research and development enterprise," Napolitano described some of the challenges the DHS hopes experts in a variety of fields will help it solve.

One key security challenge the DHS faces is what she called the "big data" problem. Being the linchpin for national security, the department receives data from a number of agencies -- such as the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Safety Administration, the FBI, and the CIA -- about possible threats, both cyber and otherwise, and must disseminate that information quickly and efficiently to come up with a plan of action.

Napolitano said that the agency is always looking for better ways to extract meaningful information from "billions" of data points, and is seeking input on how to do that from experts across different fields.

"We therefore cannot overstate the need for software engineers and information systems designers. We need communications and data security experts," she said. "And we need this kind of talent working together to find new and faster ways to identify and separate relevant data."

Napolitano also mentioned the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan to launch a discussion about how the DHS can improve emergency response in case of a similar disaster in the United States.

She said that FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate is exploring ways to use social media to achieve several crucial tasks during a disaster, such as reaching people during an emergency, locating necessary supplies, and moving them to the people and places that need them most. The federal government used the Web, including Twitter feeds, to share information with people who might be in need of help as part of its response to the recent disaster.

Napolitano also said that the DHS will seek help from scientists and engineers to create more resilient building materials that can withstand major earthquakes by engaging in nanotechnology research and getting that technology into widespread commercial use. Technology to detect nuclear radiation and to improve healthcare response to pandemics also is of interest to the department, she added.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Want Your Daughter to Succeed in Cyber? Call Her John
John De Santis, CEO, HyTrust,  5/16/2018
Don't Roll the Dice When Prioritizing Vulnerability Fixes
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading,  5/15/2018
Why Enterprises Can't Ignore Third-Party IoT-Related Risks
Charlie Miller, Senior Vice President, The Santa Fe Group,  5/14/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: "Security through obscurity"
Current Issue
How to Cope with the IT Security Skills Shortage
Most enterprises don't have all the in-house skills they need to meet the rising threat from online attackers. Here are some tips on ways to beat the shortage.
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
Most enterprises are using threat intel services, but many are still figuring out how to use the data they're collecting. In this Dark Reading survey we give you a look at what they're doing today - and where they hope to go.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-11232
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-18
The etm_setup_aux function in drivers/hwtracing/coresight/coresight-etm-perf.c in the Linux kernel before 4.10.2 allows attackers to cause a denial of service (panic) because a parameter is incorrectly used as a local variable.
CVE-2017-15855
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-17
In Qualcomm Android for MSM, Firefox OS for MSM, and QRD Android with all Android releases from CAF using the Linux kernel, the camera application triggers "user-memory-access" issue as the Camera CPP module Linux driver directly accesses the application provided buffer, which resides in u...
CVE-2018-3567
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-17
In Qualcomm Android for MSM, Firefox OS for MSM, and QRD Android with all Android releases from CAF using the Linux kernel, a buffer overflow vulnerability exists in WLAN while processing the HTT_T2H_MSG_TYPE_PEER_MAP or HTT_T2H_MSG_TYPE_PEER_UNMAP messages.
CVE-2018-3568
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-17
In Qualcomm Android for MSM, Firefox OS for MSM, and QRD Android with all Android releases from CAF using the Linux kernel, in __wlan_hdd_cfg80211_vendor_scan(), a buffer overwrite can potentially occur.
CVE-2018-5827
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-17
In Qualcomm Android for MSM, Firefox OS for MSM, and QRD Android with all Android releases from CAF using the Linux kernel, a buffer overflow vulnerability exists in WLAN while processing an extscan hotlist event.