Cyber security remains a major priority for the US Government, but it continues to struggle with encrypted traffic.
Speaking at RSA Conference in San Francisco, secretary Jeh Johnson from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that advancing the security mission is a top goal for the Government and while it does not have all the awarness or talent, he said that cyber security must be a partnership between Government and the private sector.
“We need each other and must work together,” he said. “There are things we can do and things we need you to do for us. I am enthusiastic and proud about the direction DHS is taking – we are an building agile and responsive cyber security capability.”
Johnson said that the NKICK integration centre is integral to this and as part of moving it to a new and higher level, he is hiring a new director who will direct a reporting and information sharing line to him.
“We are also finalising plans to strengthen critical relationships with Silicon Valley so we can benefit from each others research,” he said. “In January, Obama came to NKICK and supported a legislation to those who share cyber threat indictators to NKICK and proposed penalties for cyber crime.”
However Johnson admitted that DHS has a “cyber security mission” when it comes to encryption, and asked the audience for “indulgence and understandng” on encryption. He said that as DHS has feet in both camps of cyber security and law enforcement counter-terrorism, the real challenges in law enforcement are in understanding the importance of encryption to privacy, but he stressed that a solution has to be found for the benefit of public safety.
He said: “Imagine if the Warren Authority of Government was only restricted to US Mail. Accessing encrypted information poses public safety challenges and making it harder to find activity.
“A solution must take full account of privacy rights and expectations, and considering the state of technology and security of US businesses we need your help to find a solution. DHS is itself a balance between the basic physical security of the US people, and the liberties and freedoms we cherish as Americans.”
Johnson also praised the work of various Government departments, including the Secret Service and US Coastguard in their work on cyber crime, and the FBI and Departments of Treasury and Justice.