Department of homeland security 'cyber guy' calls for employment of ethical hackers but refuses to comment on McKinnon

News by Dan Raywood

International collaboration and recruitment of experienced people is needed to win the battle against cybercrime.

International collaboration and recruitment of experienced people is needed to win the battle against cybercrime.

Speaking at the RSA Conference Europe, the US department of homeland security (DHS) deputy undersecretary of the national protection and programs directorate Philip Reitinger, claimed that the right people are working on battling cybercrime but it needs to be vastly increased.

Reitinger said: “We need developers who work through university who learn to write code. We need to have ethically sound people, people who have a mind for the criminal, make sure that people are used to people's business but have to have the public's interest at heart.

“They need to have a blackhat perspective, and need to do threat modelling. Understanding weaknesses to do a good job of security systems. I think we are trying to invest in the right way.”

When asked about alleged British hacker Gary McKinnon and his opinion on his proposed extradition, Reitinger said: “I have no comment on that particular case.”

He further claimed that there 'is a lot we can do to improve, and I think we have done a lot to improve'. He also said that there is a clear set of priorities within the DHS as it has doubled the amount of people in the cybersecurity division and over the next fiscal year it will 'try to get past 260 in the network cybersecurity centre'.

Commenting on future aims, Reitinger said: “The aims are priority and people, we have people in DHS but not enough. We are bringing the right people onboard and it is now our number one priority.

“Security online is not where it needs to be, we need to decide the outcomes now. We are in the process of working departments together as best as possible. We need improved national processes for response to work with the internal process.

“We also need to focus on how to move from where we are now to an ecosystem in the future. It is too hard to protect ourselves; we need an environment where IT systems are reliable and easily repaired. What matters is how to get to it, we need discussion with the private sector.

Reitinger also called for international collaboration, claiming that international relationships 'are essential to us, as is a focus to build operational partnerships'.

“There needs to be no safe havens, we do need to build international norms that are not tolerated. Over any body of work we hope we will get there. We need to make sure that we build an international consensus around cybercrime, and we are saying that it will not be tolerated,” said Reitinger.

“Our mission in the DHS is to help the security ecosystem, this is not the Wild West but it is too hard to protect yourself and government and industry [needs] to work together to overcome the circumstances."


Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Video and interviews