Admiral James Stavridis delivered this morning’s PCI Community Meeting keynote presentation, ‘Sailing the Cyber Sea: The New Realities of 21st Century Security’ to an engaged and near-capacity crowd. Admiral Stavridis, a four-star admiral and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, touched briefly on PCI compliance but spoke mainly about cybersecurity as a whole. And true to his experience as a commander of an international alliance, Admiral Stavridis discussed how the future of cybersecurity will affect the world, not just the United States.
Given the many challenges we face as a nation and around the globe, Admiral Stavridis insisted that cyber threats are his number-one concern as the Supreme Allied Commander. He then outlined a number of real-world threats that America currently faces in the cybersecurity space:
State-sponsored cyber attacks: Ukraine is not only under siege by alleged-Russian troops on the ground, its infrastructure is also under sustained cyber attacks believed to originate from Russia.
Extremist groups: Groups like Boko Haram and ISIS are capable of and have been attacking the infrastructure of countries with inferior cyber defenses.
Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden were all identified as “hacktivists.” Their whistleblowing can expose sensitive state secrets and put the lives of U.S. citizens across the globe.
Viruses of unknown origins.
iCloud hacks: Should there be a concern that Apple is announcing Apple Pay when hundreds of celebrity’s private photos were stolen from its iCloud platform?
The attendees cheered when Admiral Stavridis stated that he believes the NSA should have a civilian leader. He went a step further, opining that the U.S. Cyber Command and NSA should not be commanded by the same person, likening that responsibility to a single person running the CIA and Department of Defense.
The Admiral also insisted on the creation on a new branch of the military: the Cyber Force. Much like how each branch of the military has a specialty, the Cyber Force would be a separate branch of the military that would specialize in defending against cyber attacks./p>
In closing, Admiral Stavridis noted that the government needs to build alliances with not only other countries, but with the private sector. By combining and collecting knowledge from different fields, the United States will be ready to stand up to cyber threats in the 21st century and beyond.