Global Cyber-Vulnerabilities: Threats, Challenges, and Opportunities

March 9, 2016
9:13 am -

New cyber-attacks and cyber threats surface every day. Some countries are better prepared than others in defeating them. Which nations are most secure? Which have the greatest vulnerabilities? And which states and non-state actors pose the greatest cyber threats?

The answers might surprise you.

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and its Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance (CSIF) hosted a panel discussion Wednesday, March 9 at 9:15am to discuss the current landscape of cyber threats and how the United States and its allies can best protect themselves. Moderated by David Sanger of The New York Times, the conversation will feature University of Maryland’s Dr. V.S. Subrahmanian and FDD Senior Fellow Dr. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. Luke Dembosky, who just left his post as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Justice Department, joined the panel discussion as well.

Professor Subrahmanian recently released a study with the University of Maryland and Virginia Tech which analyzed 20 billion malware and telemetry reports provided by Symantec and examined the cyber-security policies of 44 countries to identify the specific nature of the threats each of them face. The study examines in detail a range of countries including the United States, India, and South Korea, and the report identifies the most and least vulnerable countries. The discussion will also include the threats and the tactics used by terrorists to exploit these vulnerabilities, including through social media, and offer concrete recommendations for how the United States government, the private sector, and its allies can effectively combat these threats.

Note: Due to technical difficulties, there is no audio from the 4:00-16:00 minute marks. 

Luke Dembosky is a partner in the Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Group at Debevoise & Plimpton, and until March 2016 he served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Justice Department. At DOJ, he was involved in many of the most significant cybersecurity cases, including North Korea’s hack of Sony Pictures; the intrusions into the Office of Personnel Management; the breaches of Target, Home Depot, and Anthem; and the takedowns of the GameOver Zeus botnet and the illicit Silk Road online bazaar. He has worked many cases in partnership with law-enforcement officials overseas. He previously served as the DOJ representative at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, where he represented DOJ to Russia on matters of transnational crime, including cybercrime and IP crimes, and worked with Russian law enforcement and other government officials to build cooperation between the two countries.  Prior to working in Moscow, Dembosky was based in Pittsburgh as a member of DOJ’s Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) network of federal prosecutors.

Dr. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, an adjunct assistant professor in Georgetown University’s security studies program, and a lecturer at the Catholic University of America. He is also the chief executive officer of Valens Global, a consulting firm focusing on the challenges posed by violent non-state actors. It is this latter topic—violent non-state actors and the changing nature of armed conflict—that has served as a unifying theme in Gartenstein-Ross’s research and professional work for over a decade. His body of work concentrates on, but has not been limited to, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and other jihadist organizations with transnational ambitions. Gartenstein-Ross is the author or volume editor of eighteen books and monographs, including Bin Laden’s Legacy (Wiley, 2011), and has published widely in the popular and academic press. He also frequently conducts field research in relevant regions, including North Africa, the Persian Gulf, and South Asia.

Dr. V.S. Subrahmanian is a professor in the Department of Computer Science, director of the Lab for Computational Cultural Dynamics, and director of the Center for Digital International Government at the University of Maryland. He previously served for 6.5 years as director of the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. In addition to his academic work, Prof. Subrahmanian has served for 2 years (2013, 2014) on the U.S.-India Strategic Dialog (track 2), the India-Israel Dialog (2013, 2014), and DARPA’s Executive Advisory Council on its Advanced Logistics Program. He serves currently on the Research Advisory Board of Tata Consultancy Services (India’s biggest software firm) and on the Board of Directors of Development Gateway (created by the World Bank in 1999); Sentimetrix, Inc., a big data analytics firm; and CosmosId, a leading bioinformatics company.

David E. Sanger is chief Washington correspondent of The New York Times. Sanger has reported from New York, Tokyo and Washington, covering a wide variety of issues surrounding foreign policy, globalization, nuclear proliferation and Asian affairs. Twice he has been a member of Times reporting teams that won the Pulitzer Prize. Before covering the White House, Mr. Sanger specialized in the confluence of economic and foreign policy, and wrote extensively on how issues of national wealth and competitiveness have come to redefine the relationships between the United States and its major allies. He is the author of two bestsellers on foreign policy and national security: The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power (2009) and Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power (2012).