How States Can Improve Cyber Threat Intelligence Sharing With the Feds

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe sees an opportunity in community colleges to double his state's cyber ranks while growing its workforce.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe sees an opportunity in community colleges to double his state's cyber ranks while growing its workforce. Steve Helber / AP Photo

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Virginia has taken a number of steps to boost interoperability with federal agencies: consolidating network infrastructure, investing in fusion centers and filling its cyber workforce gap with community college grads.

WASHINGTON — State agencies must consistently improve interoperability with each other and the federal government to secure against cyber threats. Intelligence sharing is critical to that defense.

For instance, the Virginia Information Technologies Agency wants to enhance its already good working relationship with the FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security to speed up information sharing.

In 2005, Virginia consolidated its network infrastructure under VITA to better monitor statewide threats and protect constituent services provided by various departments from Transportation to Motor Vehicles to Social Services.

"That’s really where the rubber meets the road is getting [intelligence] down, in my case, to 89 state-level agencies,” said Nelson Moe, VITA chief information officer, during the Threat Intelligence Sharing panel discussion Thursday at the 2016 Akamai Government Forum in the nation’s capital.

Panelists stressed the importance of developing a common lexicon making it easier for agencies to incorporate each other’s data and automate information sharing.

The FBI’s National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force functions as a domestic cyber analytics hub for federal, state and local agencies—disseminating actionable information to disrupt attacks before they occur. But Director Donald Freese, another panelist, admitted the decentralized nature of intelligence sharing was a pain point in the process.

That’s not to say the federal government hasn’t had successes. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence worked with agencies like DHS to create portals training state and local public safety agencies on cyber threats like hacktivism and doxxing. A National Network of Fusion Centers was also built out by the partnership for real-time information sharing between federal, state and local governments.

Still, cybercrime thresholds remain higher than agencies’ ability to handle them, said panelist Kshemendra Paul, ODNI Information Sharing Environment program manager.

Brig. Gen. Maria Barrett, the U.S. Cyber Command’s Cyber National Mission Force deputy commander, recommended state and local agencies like utilities join groups like the Information Sharing and Analysis Center.

“Being able to hook those entities, whether its industry or state, into the intelligence community . . .  has gone a long way with that information sharing,” she said.

State agencies are primarily consumers of intelligence, Moe said, and defer to the “big boys,” the feds, as far as interoperability standards—focusing instead on securing constituent applications.

Government agencies can improve in that regard, in part, by training employees to avoid phishing scams to acquire sensitive information and implementing two-factor authentication in lieu of easily hackable passwords. They must also encourage “rational discussions” weighing privacy concerns against security benefits, Freese said.

Other challenges government agencies face include acquiring and retaining cyber talent. While the Cyber National Mission Force’s job description is an exciting one, Barrett conceded the public sector is limited in the incentives it can provide employees.

“And I love that because I need them too,” joked moderator Fran Trentley, Akamai senior director of global security and government services, albeit with a ring of truth.

All levels of government have the responsibility of developing a cyber workforce, panelists agreed, and part of that is proper resourcing.

Virginia is investing in its fusion centers and has the goal of doubling its cyber staff across all agencies, Moe said—Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s ancillary priority being growing the state’s workforce.

“We’re going to try to fill the gap at the community college level and move up,” he said. “If you’ve got kids in high school, try and force them down this way because I’ll guarantee they’ll get a job.”

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty.

FEATURED CASE STUDIES
Powered By The Atlas
Orlando Protects Citizens During Heavy Rain Events by Optimizing Water Data Intelligence
Orlando, FL, USA
Small city of Baldwin, GA with <5K residents reduces info calls to City Hall by 50%
Baldwin, GA, USA
Integrated city systems, unified data, & automation drive 316% increase in field efficiency
Seattle, WA, USA

NEXT STORY: San José Partners With Facebook on Accessible, Gigabit Internet

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.