The New CIA: Cyber Intelligence Agency

The growing need for cyber intelligence will only increase as new technologies are deployed.

Cyber defense is gradually moving from a reactive to a proactive posture. Many observers have recognized this is absolutely required if we are to properly defend the massive information infrastructure that we have become so dependent on.

One question that comes up repeatedly is the growing need for cyber intelligence. Most organizations, besides those in the government/military intelligence community, concentrate on vulnerabilities and recently unleashed malware as a form of cyber intelligence. 

Cyber intelligence goes far beyond software and hardware vulnerabilities.  While both are critical elements, many more are needed to paint an accurate and detailed picture of this threat environment. 

The Ponemon Institute released a new study that surveyed more than 700 respondents from 378 organizations. It found more organizations are moving toward what was termed "live threat intelligence.” I highlighted this expanded paradigm (near-real-time cyber intelligence) at the AFCEA Joint Warfighting conference.  If you look at all the contributing factors that influence the cyber-threat environment, you will discover there are about 30 different categories directly associated with cyber intelligence. 

What we are seeing is a shift within the intelligence community to address the growing need for cyber intelligence. That means the Central Intelligence Agency may have to morph into something like a Cyber Intelligence Agency.

As we aggressively adopt new technologies, most of which are directly dependent on cyber communications, threats to this domain along with the growing number of activists, criminals, terrorists and rogue nation-states targeting this critical infrastructure will continue to grow.  We have already seen a handful of universities develop degree programs addressing cyber intelligence.

As we are to keep pace with the growing threats of cyber aggression, we must increase the attention and resources devoted to cyber intelligence.

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