Black Hat: Former FB Director Calls For War On Cybercrime
July 26, 2012

Black Hat: Former FBI Director Calls For Soldiers Against Cybercrime

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

The Black Hat conference kicked off in Las Vegas this week, bringing together all manner of hackers and security experts alike. Taking the stage on July 25, former FBI executive assistant director Shawn Henry gave a rallying cry to all in attendance to fight the good fight against cybercriminals the world over. As governments and private corporations increasingly become the target of these hacking attacks, Mr. Henry believes this cyberwar needs more soldiers willing to stand up for justice.

"I implore all of you to be committed to your cause, because the stakes are too high. And I believe our failure to step up is a failure to society," said Mr. Henry during his keynote speech which kicked off this year´s conference.

"Our failure to do so means people are going to get hurt and people are going to die."

Mr. Henry began his presentation with video of the FBI´s critical incident response unit in full action, leaping from helicopters, lighting explosives, and shooting firearms. “We need warriors to fight the enemy,” said Mr. Henry at the close of the video.

Going one step further, Mr Henry then compared the issue of Internet security to the issues faced by the US government in the months and years after the September 11, 2001, attacks. Rather than focus their attention on specific attacks, the government had to protect all areas from a range of possible scenarios.

"We need to have a paradigm shift in the way we all do business," said Mr. Henry. “You have got to assume the adversary is on the network."

The ex FBI executive assistant director then suggested taking a more strategic approach to matter of online and networked federal security, isolating data during strategic business periods and simply removing any sensitive data from the location when a breach is discovered.

Mr. Henry explains that the threat of a computer network exploitation is now more significant than the threat of a weapon of mass destruction. As our nation continues to amass data at incredible rates, the risk of this information being compromised grows every day, and while there are many stories about passwords and email accounts being leaked every few weeks, Mr. Henry says 90% of all attacks occur on classified, government systems.

These attackers are able to inflict harm on networks and systems with anything from a cheap, portable laptop to a government funded terrorist with an inclination to bring harm to America. Rather than make an offensive strike against the hackers, Mr. Henry suggests making it more difficult for these hackers to inflict harm on our nation and our nation´s networks.

"There is a lot we can do to create a hostile environment for an adversary, maybe it's denial and deception, such as allowing cybercriminals to steal decoy files,” suggested Mr. Henry.

"I can only ask you to stand side by side to protect that line between good and evil. People might think I'm being dramatic, but I believe it," preached Henry as he wrapped up his presentation.

“You have a responsibility and an obligation to your company, to your customers, to your families, to your co-workers. You have an obligation, because if we don't do that, bad things are going to happen. This is the time to step up. Together we can change this game."