Mike Saperstein

Recap: USTelecom Participation in DHS Cybersecurity Summit

USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter recently represented Members at the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Cybersecurity Summit in New York City. The Summit brought together Vice President Pence, senior cabinet-level officials, and CEOs from the communications, finance, electric, and information technology sectors to focus on cyber threats to critical infrastructure. Secretary Nielsen and DHS Under Secretary Chris Krebs invited USTelecom to participate in large part the due to USTelecom’s leadership in building cross-sector collaboration.

Mr. Spalter, speaking on the “ICT Industry Perspectives Panel,” addressed how USTelecom members are tackling a range of cybersecurity challenges and opportunities across the Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) sectors.

Here is an overview of some of the key points raised:

Responding to the Evolving Cyber Threat

    • We are highly motivated to continuously evolve our cyber defenses to better protect our networks, our peers, and our customers who use these networks. In the event of a cyber-attack, we are preparing to mobilize quickly across the ICT space so that we can quickly identify the problem and draw on the broader ecosystem capabilities to resolve the problem.
    • Cyber-attacks can have physical consequences impacting, among other things, industrial control systems and interconnected infrastructure.  We are currently working with other sectors—in particular, IT, energy, and finance—so we can mutually develop more effective courses of action to manage those consequences.
    • From customized cyber solutions for large customers to turn-key, network-based cyber solutions for small businesses, USTelecom members have a number of ways to respond to customers’ security needs allowing the customer to focus on their core line of business.

The Council to Secure the Digital Economy (CSDE)

This past February, USTelecom established the Council to Secure the Digital Economy (CSDE) together with the Information Technologies Industry Council (ITI), uniting global ICT leaders to tackle ecosystem-wide cybersecurity challenges. USTelecom members AT&T, CenturyLink, NTT, Oracle, Telefonica and Verizon are among the CSDE’s founding members.

The CSDE was formed with the understanding that bringing together global companies in the information technology and communications sectors will create global norms for defending against and responding to cyber-attacks. As stewards of the digital economy, there is an opportunity and responsibility to drive collective actions that can build greater trust and resiliency, as well as drive continued economic growth.

The CSDE deliberately chose two work streams that will immediately address dangers to the ecosystem:

    • CSDE anti-botnet guide: Targeted for release this year, the guide will identify technical solutions that companies throughout the ecosystem could adopt to increase the ecosystem’s resilience, ranging from baseline to more advanced practices, depending on the company’s size or core capabilities. Once the report is released this October, members of the CSDE will work with the US government and like-minded nations to promote baseline security practice across the globe.
    • ICT mobilization during major cyber incident: The 2014 NSTAC report on ICT Mobilization calls for ICT enablers to develop and implement a framework to plan for a major cyber event and establish mechanisms to facilitate rapid recovery. The CSDE picked up this mantle and is now working to implement and operationalize the recommendation in this report to the President.