The PITAC Report on CyberSecurity
I finally got around to reading the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) report entitled “Cyber Security: A Crisis of Prioritization” (dated February 2005). The report looks at the current state of federal involvement in cybersecurity research, and makes recommendations for the future. It’s a good report, and one which the administration would do well to listen to.
The report’s recommendations are based on two observations. The observations are that 1) cybersecurity research is primarily focused on current threats, and not long-term threats, and 2) there simply aren’t enough cybersecurity researchers, and no good mechanism for producing them. The federal government isn’t doing enough to foster cybersecurity research, and the effects of this shortfall will be felt more in the long term than the short term.
To remedy this problem, the report makes four specific recommendations (in much more detail than I summarize here). One, the government needs to increase funding for basic cybersecurity research. Two, the government needs to increase the number of researchers working in cybersecurity. Three, the government need to better foster the transfer of technology from research to product development. And four, the government needs to improve its own cybersecurity coordination and oversight. Four good recommendations.
More specifically, the report lists ten technologies that need more research. They are (not in any priority order):
Secure Fundamental Protocols
Secure Software Engineering and Software Assurance
Holistic System Security
Monitoring and Detection
Mitigation and Recovery Methodologies
Modeling and Testbeds for New Technologies
Metrics, Benchmarks, and Best Practices
Non-Technology Issues that Can Compromise Cyber Security
It’s a good list, and I am especially pleased to see the tenth item — one that is usually forgotten. I would add something on the order of “Dynamic Cyber Security Systems” — I think we need serious basic research in how systems should react to new threats and how to update the security of already fielded system — but that’s all I would change.
The report itself is a bit repetitive, but it’s definitely worth skimming.