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Q&A: Expert insight on Biden establishing a cybersecurity task force

Arguably more damage is done, and is able to be done, by targeting businesses of all sizes and across all sectors.

Laptop keyboard with its keys (except the space bar) removed, revealing crumbs and pet hair. — Photo GrammarFascist via Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Laptop keyboard with its keys (except the space bar) removed, revealing crumbs and pet hair. — Photo GrammarFascist via Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

President Biden has launched a series of ongoing efforts to reduce the impact of cyberattacks and ransomware attacks on U.S. businesses (as previously reported by Digital Journal). Central to the initiatives is a cybersecurity task force.

Biden’s plans include taking measures to enhance cyber detection, mitigation, and forensic capabilities, each of these is geared around helping to protect U.S.-based businesses from attacks by rogue actors.

Despite the intentions, there are still questions to be answered – what will be the task force’s impact, what concerns remain, and what’s next?

Apollo Information Systems CISO Andy Bennett successfully led the defense against the largest cybersecurity attack waged on a local entity. Bennett is an expert on the state of ransomware and cybersecurity.

Digital Journal caught up with Bennett about President Biden’s newly created cybersecurity task force.

Digital Journal: Why has Biden felt the need to create a cybersecurity task force?

Andy Bennett: Just like the fight against terrorism and concerted efforts to share information between intelligence agencies after 9/11, it is absolutely critical that agencies collaborate and help one another develop a strategy and combine expertise to fight the current epidemic of ransomware attacks.

DJ: Do cyberattacks need special measures?

Bennett: Unlike conventional terrorism, cyberattacks and the means to counter them are not unique to government. It would be preposterous to think of putting anti-aircraft guns on the roof of every skyscraper, but the cybersecurity equivalent is exactly what is needed in every agency, school, and company across the country. This task force is absolutely worthwhile and, if done right, will have significant impacts in improving efforts to combat and build resilience to ransomware for all areas of government.

DJ: What is the next step?

Bennett: The open question this news leaves is ‘what’s next?’ How will they include the private sector? How will they go beyond the beltway and functions of the federal government, and enable and empower the whole country? Protecting the government is critical, but arguably more damage is done, and is able to be done, by targeting businesses of all sizes and across all sectors. This is a great first step, but it is just the first of many to confront the whole of the problem.

DJ: Do any concerns remain?

Bennett: It is a really good sign that the task force is offering such significant incentives for information that leads to shutting down these ransomware groups, but it begs the question of where else they should, could, and will invest in helping. There are thousands of underfunded schools and agencies across the nation, as well as mom-and-pop shops and small businesses, that are still completely unprepared and unable to deal with cyber issues.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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