All posts by Steven R. Chabinsky

Mr. Chabinsky is currently on a rotational joint duty assignment with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) where he serves as the Assistant Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Cyber, the Chair of the National Cyber Study Group, and the Director of the Joint Interagency Cyber Task Force. In this capacity he assists the Director of National Intelligence in fulfilling his obligation to coordinate, monitor, and provide recommendations to the President regarding the implementation of the broad portfolio of activities and programs that comprise the President’s Comprehensive National Cyber Security Initiative (CNCI). The CNCI is contained within National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23. Mr. Chabinsky’s home agency is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), where he previously served as Chief of the Cyber Intelligence Section. In this capacity, Mr. Chabinsky led the FBI’s analysis and reporting on terrorism, foreign intelligence, and criminal matters having a cyber threat nexus. Mr. Chabinsky joined the FBI in 1995 as an attorney in the Bureau’s Office of the General Counsel. In 1998, Mr. Chabinsky became Principal Legal Advisor to the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) and later served as senior counsel to the Cyber Division. Mr. Chabinsky played a prominent role in the development of InfraGard, an information sharing and analysis partnership to enhance nationwide cooperation between the private sector, academia, and federal, state, and local government agencies.

Cybersecurity Strategy: A Primer for Policy Makers and Those on the Front Line

The Internet seems to offer the promise of everything to everyone. For global and local business, it lowers costs while increasing innovation, invention, effectiveness, and efficiencies. For wealthy and poor economies alike, the Internet greatly expands markets for products and services. For peoples free and repressed, it provides an inlet and an outlet of expression. For large and small communities, whether living in urban centers or outlying regions, the Internet enables control over critical power, transportation, water, and sewerage systems.

Lest we forget, for sophisticated criminals, terrorists, warmongers, and spies, the Internet also offers the chance of a lifetime to cheat, steal, and strike from afar with little money, covered tracks, and enormous real world impact. While the ability to use the same technology for positive or destructive ends is neither new nor momentous, it is necessary to consider whether the rapid adoption of the Internet has provided so considerable an asymmetric advantage to our adversaries that it can change the course of American history. In this regard, when we consider the intent and capabilities of our enemies, we cannot underestimate them or, as the 9/11 Commission found in a different context, suffer from failures in imagination, policy, capabilities, or management.

Thus our future remains uncertain. Based on our increasing reliance on networks to drive our economy and support our health, welfare, communications, and security, certain questions loom large. For example, can our enemies control whether, how, and when our systems operate and our vital services get delivered? Are our personal and business records, corporate intellectual property, and state secrets routinely exposed or imperceptibly altered?1

Unfortunately, the answers to these questions not only remain unknown, they perhaps are unknowable. Therefore, it is difficult to provide our nation’s government leaders, corporate executives, shareholders, and citizens with reasonable assurance that our computer systems have not been…