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Perimeter

11/20/2009
12:00 PM
Gadi Evron
Gadi Evron
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Scrutinizing The White House Cyberspace Policy Review

A lot was expected of the White House Cyberspace Policy Review, but like in previous cases, disappointment is what we find.

A lot was expected of the White House Cyberspace Policy Review, but like in previous cases, disappointment is what we find.Even so, this is an important document. The fact that the Obama administration has taken the time to perform the review upgrades the importance of cybersecurity in the eyes of other governments. And as was pointed out to me, the 100 documents submitted to the review for making the final report are important on their own, and their content is invaluable.

But what of the final report?

When I saw the much-anticipated policy review was released and downloadable from the White House Website (PDF), I have to admit I was excited. While I did not expect to find any drastic changes proposed -- it is a policy review, after all -- I was still disappointed.

Expecting the document to discuss past failures or specific plans was out of the question, but general ideas as to where the country should go and where funding should follow was what I genuinely believed I would read. My naivete soon became apparent.

The document is a to-do list of vague milestones. It discusses what needs to be done in order for the administration to have an idea about what to do. Why 78 pages? If there is a lot to read, then people might fail to see the lack of actual content.

When I voiced my concerns on the Funsec mailing list asking if I could simply be misunderstanding, a friend who shall remain nameless quickly corrected me. They plan to do quite a bit. In fact, they plan to, tongue-in-cheek:

- Appoint someone - Do more study - Create a priority - Appoint someone else - Form a committee - Advertise - Create ideas that might, someday, become policies - Tell business to get interested in doing this for you - Create a framework to develop an infrastructure of some type - Have a vision

Smart people in high places may respond and say in good tradition: "A lot is happening behind the scenes, you simply don't know of it." That is quite possible. But judging from past experience, seeing is believing.

The Internet has been running on good faith and trust-based relationships for years now, operated by technical folk with no interest in policy, and saved by volunteer fire brigades who don't know how to speak policy. The entire cybersecurity review document can be translated into stalling for time and in college debate tradition, arguing for maintaining the status quo.

Who are we to argue?

Follow Gadi Evron on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gadievron

Gadi Evron is an independent security strategist based in Israel. Special to Dark Reading. Gadi is CEO and founder of Cymmetria, a cyber deception startup and chairman of the Israeli CERT. Previously, he was vice president of cybersecurity strategy for Kaspersky Lab and led PwC's Cyber Security Center of Excellence, located in Israel. He is widely recognized for ... View Full Bio

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