June 9, 2017

CLTC Media Round-Up: WannaCry, Trump’s Executive Order, and More


From the WannaCry ransomware attack to President Trump’s executive order on cybersecurity, the past few weeks have brought a flurry of public conversation about the urgent need to protect digital networks across sectors. The Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity has been an active participant in dialogue about these issues, by publishing papers, providing expertise and insights for news stories, and participating in public forums. Here are a few recent examples:


Steve Weber Publishes Paper on Cybersecurity/Public Health Analogy

CLTC Faculty Director Steve Weber has published a paper in the Journal of Cybersecurity addressing the commonly used analogy comparing cybersecurity and public health. “Analogies between public health and cybersecurity are superficially appealing but fail on closer examination in two distinct ways: the ‘publicness’ of the goods in question, and the readiness of the relevant actors and institutions to exert and accept coercive authority,” Weber writes in the abstract. “This article assesses the analogy in depth, starting with a review of foundational arguments from public goods theory…. Pushing past cultural resistance around the idea of “coercion in the interests of security” does not fully determine any specific cybersecurity policy outcome, but it does force a more straightforward assessment of what tradeoffs are at stake. The level of coercion that public policy will have to grapple with for cybersecurity goals is higher than generally understood.” Read the article here.

Betsy Cooper Cited in Washington Examiner Piece on Trump Administration’s Cyber Progress

In an article called “Trump’s cyber policy remains ‘to be determined,” Charlie Mitchell of the Washington Examiner wrote about the Trump Administration’s progress (and lack thereof) in implementing a cybersecurity agenda. CLTC Executive Director Betsy Cooper was among experts interviewed for this story, and noted that while the executive order shows that cybersecurity is a priority for Trump’s team, “it doesn’t really set a policy direction for the new administration. It calls for a series of reports, and that suggests the administration is still deciding whether to continue on the Obama path or take a new approach.” Read the full story here.

Cooper on Panel at World Economic Forum’s Industry Strategy Meeting

How can business work with government to anticipate and shape the social, political and economic impacts of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”? This question was at the heart of a panel discussion called “Catch Me If You Can: Future-Proofing Tomorrow’s Economy,” presented by the World Economic Forum’s Industry Strategy Meeting, held on June 7 at the Presidio of San Francisco. CLTC Executive Director Betsy Cooper participated on this panel, alongside Hardik Bhatt, Chief Digital Officer and Chief Information Officer for the State of Illinois; Peter Doolan, Executive Vice-President, Digital Transformation and Innovation, Salesforce.com Inc.; Zvika Krieger, Head of Technology Policy and Partnerships at the World Economic Forum; and Brandon Lee, Consul General, Consulate General of Canada. The event had a bold ambition to “define and shape the outlook for industries, identify where sectors can work together for economic and societal benefit, and explore how industries can shift from managing disruption to pioneering new models of responsible capitalism.” Watch the video of the panel here.

CLTC-Affiliated Faculty Catherine Crump in Intelligence Squared Debate on Privacy

On Tuesday, CLTC Affiliated Faculty Member Catherine Crump, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Acting Director of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, participated in an Oxford-style debate sponsored by Intelligence Squared. Crump was paired together with former DHS secretary Michael Chertoff, and debated Stewart Baker and John Yoo about issues related to privacy and technology. The resolution focused on whether tech companies should be required to help the government execute warrants for user data. Watch the video here.

CLTC’s Weber Cited in Politico, Phys.Org Stories on WannaCry and Trump

In an article on Phys.org written by Rob Lever, “Who’s to blame for ransomware outbreak?” CLTC Faculty Director Steve Weber said that “there are plenty of people to blame” for the WannaCry attack, which used a leaked method developed by the NSA to exploit out-of-date Microsoft systems. Weber noted that the attacks shine a light on the fundamental insecurity of most digital networks. “We have built an increasingly digital society on a very insecure foundation and we are starting to see the consequences of that,” Weber said. Read the story here.

Meanwhile, in a piece by Tim Starks of Politico, “Trump confronts global cyber crisis with a staff marked by vacancies,” Weber noted that the WannaCry attack could motivate Trump’s administration to fill key leadership positions related to cybersecurity. “’If this increases the urgency or sense of urgency inside the White House to [act] more aggressively or more boldly,’ that’s a silver lining,” Weber said. “‘It’s hard to make policy if you don’t have the positions filled.’” Read the story here.

Cooper Quoted in Defense One Article on Trump’s Cyber Order

Betsy Cooper was quoted in a Defense One article by Joseph Marks, “Trump Releases Long-Delayed Cyber Order”. Cooper noted that a key to the success of Trump’s executive order “will be whether the president fills top cybersecurity management posts at the White House, DHS, and other agencies that will be responsible for assuring implementation of many elements of the order.” Read the full story here.

Weber, Cooper Publish Op-Ed in New York Times

Finally, in case you missed it, check out Weber and Cooper’s op-ed published by the New York Times. Their opinion piece, “Digital Insecurity Is the New Normal,” highlights themes outlined in CLTC’s scenario, “The New Normal,” which depicts a future in which people retreat to non-digital technologies as cyberattacks become more widespread. Read the New York Times op-ed here.