[ISN] DHS cyber chief: Industrial system threats are growing

From: InfoSec News <alerts_at_private>
Date: Thu, 3 May 2012 00:47:13 -0500 (CDT)

By Aliya Sternstein
May 2, 2012

The government is witnessing an uptick in assaults on the computers that 
control industrial operations such as power transmission and 
transportation, the top Homeland Security Department cybersecurity 
official said Monday.

Mark Weatherford, the first-ever deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity 
at DHS' National Protection and Programs Directorate, knows a lot about 
the topic and how government shares cyber intelligence with industry 
operators. Before joining DHS in fall 2011, he was the chief security 
officer at the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, a 
standards-making group of power grid operators.

“We pay particular attention to industrial control systems,” Weatherford 
said. “We’re seeing a troubling increase in the threats and the 
vulnerabilities associated with those.” Much of the technical 
infrastructure running the machines was installed between 30 and 50 
years ago, and security flaws are introduced when digital enhancements 
are layered on top, he said. “But we are making progress on that, I 
think,” Weatherford added.

One way the government and private sector are buttressing protections is 
through a little-known facility called the National Cybersecurity and 
Communications Integration Center, or NCCIC (pronounced N-kick). It is a 
“24-by-7-by 365 operations center,” Weatherford said. “The 
collaboration, sharing of incident, of vulnerability information is 
truly magic.” He conjured an image of DHS Secret Service cybercrime, 
electricity sector and financial sector personnel “all sitting next to 
each other and working [together]on a daily basis.”


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Received on Wed May 02 2012 - 22:47:13 PDT

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