Cyber Researchers Don’t Think Feds or Congress Can Protect Against Cyberattacks

By Joseph Marks

June 27, 2018

The federal government doesn’t understand cybersecurity and won’t be able to respond to a digital disaster such as a destructive hack aimed at the energy or financial sector, according to a survey of cybersecurity researchers released Tuesday.

Only 13 percent of researchers “believe that Congress and the White House understand cyber threats and will take steps for future defenses,” according to the poll of attendees at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference.

Only 15 percent of the researchers believe the U.S. government and private industry are prepared to respond to a major breach of critical infrastructure.

When asked about the greatest cyber threats to critical infrastructure, 43 percent of researchers cited a cyberattack by another nation, while 16 percent cited a lack of coordination between government and industry.

Black Hat, which is held annually in Las Vegas, is among the most prominent cybersecurity conferences and the one most directly aimed at hackers and researchers rather than business or government.

Respondents to the survey were 315 information security professionals who attended Black Hat’s 2017 conference or planned to attend in 2018. The majority of respondents work for large companies, the report states.

Among the report’s other conclusions:

By Joseph Marks // Joseph Marks covers cybersecurity for Nextgov. He previously covered cybersecurity for Politico, intellectual property for Bloomberg BNA and federal litigation for Law360. He covered government technology for Nextgov during an earlier stint at the publication and began his career at Midwestern newspapers covering everything under the sun. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and a master’s in international affairs from Georgetown University.

June 27, 2018