(Washington, DC) House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) said yesterday that the Justice Department's high-profile indictment of Chinese military officials for cyber theft of U.S. business secrets is "great for glitz and glamour" but it's more important that Congress act on cyber legislation by August if the government wants to ensure true cybersecurity. Speaking at an event hosted by the George Washington University Cybersecurity Initiative, Rogers said "I agree with the indictments and I agree with certain visa restrictions [b]ut it can't be done in isolation."
The Obama administration's largely symbolic move is "great for glitz and glamour but nothing followed," Rogers said. "It's the right idea but the wrong execution. If only we could get the second piece of this, which allows the private sector to defend itself," Rogers said, referring to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which would facilitate the sharing of cybersecurity information between the private sector and the government.
Although the House has passed the bill, it's stalled in the Senate, a situation that Rogers thinks is improving and believes has to be resolved by August or else prospects for near-term cybersecurity legislation will die. "I think we've made tremendous progress in the last few months. I hate to say it but if we don't get something moving in August, it will get lost in the haze."
Rogers is cautiously optimistic that a bill could move in the next thirty days, with the contentious issues narrowed down to a "few short issues," particularly the question of how a portal for sharing information with the government gets structured. "We've narrowed down the issues on the portal," Rogers said.
Speaking at the same event, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia, a country widely considered to be home to the first true cyber warfare attack, said that new intellectual concepts are needed to successfully battle cyber threats given the radically novel dangers posed by the modern connected era. "We have major intellectual tasks ahead of us," he said. We are facing the modern equivalent of Thomas Hobbes' "war of all against all" and "we need our Jeffersons, our Voltaires in this area."
Estonia is at the forefront of protecting individual online identities as a key strategy for ensuring security, with everyone using two-factor public key infrastructure using RSA 2048 encryption. "We have come to the conclusion that you cannot have any genuine security without a secure online identity," Hendrik said. "That is the dilemma of all Internet relations. You don't know who's who."