Cheddar: Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) Says Elimination Cyber Coordinator Position Is “Short-Sighted” & “A Mistake”

Cheddar: Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) Says Elimination Cyber Coordinator Position Is “Short-Sighted” & “A Mistake”

To watch the full interview, click here.

Congressman Jim Langevin is a Democrat representing Rhode Island’s second district. He is also the co-chair of the congressional cyber security caucus. The congressman has put forward a bill to create a cyber security director position that will be able to better coordinate cyber activities in the United States to ensure the country is protected from threats. The bill was presented soon after National Security Advisor John Bolton eliminated the top cyber policy role at the White House.

 

FCW: House Dems look to salvage cyber coordinator post

FCW: House Dems look to salvage cyber coordinator post

Written by Derek B. Johnson

Amid reports that the White House has officially eliminated its cyber coordinator position, a group of Democratic lawmakers have filed a bill to restore the job.

The bill, introduced by Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), would establish a “National Office for Cyberspace” within the White House and create a director-level position appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The office will serve as “the principal office for coordinating issues relating to cyberspace” and have responsibility over recommending security measures and budgets for federal agencies.

The bill so far has attracted 10 other co-sponsors, all Democrats.

Politico reported on May 15 that new national security advisor John Bolton eliminated the position following the departure of Rob Joyce, who had filled the spot since March 2017. Joyce, who left shortly after his boss Tom Bossert stepped down the day after Bolton started, has since returned to the National Security Agency where previously managed the agency’s elite hacking unit.

Langevin told FCW in a May 15 interview he was “very disappointed” in the Trump administration’s decision. Up until this point, he had been relatively pleased with the Trump administration’s cybersecurity moves, listing off positives like continuity with Obama administration initiatives, delivering a cyber doctrine, hiring Tom Bossert and Rob Joyce as homeland security advisor and cyber coordinator and nominating Chris Krebs to lead the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber wing.

However, he characterized the elimination of the cyber coordinator position as “a clear step backwards.”

“I think that’s a bad move. It’s a very shortsighted decision,” said Langevin. “In my mind, that decision was made by someone who clearly does not understand the threats we face in cyberspace and doesn’t understand that cybersecurity is the national and economic security challenge of the 21st century.”

Standard Times: Langevin addresses senior population and cyber security in South County

Standard Times: Langevin addresses senior population and cyber security in South County

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, hosted an educational cybersecurity awareness forum with the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit, the State Cybersecurity Officer, the Rhode Island American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and local officials to provide attendees with steps for staying safe online.

The forum, which took place Monday at the South County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, started off with Langevin explaining what exactly cybersecurity was, describing it as an effort to protect an individual against both foreign and domestic “bad actors” working online.

“Cybersecurity is the national security and economic security challenge of the 21st century and will be here for quite some time.  Cybersecurity isn’t only about foreign hackers or foreign individuals involved in the security,” Langevin said.

While Langevin went on to say that, while Russian interference in the 2016 elections was a topic of concern to remain vigilant about, the topic of cybersecurity goes beyond “nation state attacks on foreigners.”

“It runs the gamut from domestic individuals that run a criminal enterprise or just hackers in general that may try to prey on us, all bad actors,” Langevin said.  “Each of us can take steps in order to protect ourselves while we’re online.”

“There’s a number of stuff that you can do, such as strong passwords, changing passwords on a regular basis, making sure that you’re downloading the security patches,” he continued.

Security patches are general ways of protecting information by updating systems, such as upgrading to the latest version of Windows and updating security systems.

Following his introduction, the congressman invited the three guest speakers to come up one at a time. The speakers were RI cybersecurity officer Mike Steinmetz, RI AARP representative Daniel Liparini, and RI State Police computer crimes unit captain John Alfred.

Steinmetz started off by comparing cybersecurity to everyday protections, such as locking your car, and proceeded to describe a scenario where somebody leaves their car running in the Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot while grabbing a coffee, and how vulnerable that person would be to theft.

“Today, as the congressman mentioned about passwords and patching and backups, I want you to remember that analogy because if you’re not changing your passwords, if you’re not patching your system, your car is outside of Dunkin’ Donuts with the doors open, the keys in it, and the engine running,” he added.

Steinmetz then went on to explain the importance of creating an appropriate passing, and when he asked how many thought passwords were hard to remember, nearly every person in attendance raised their hand.

“Pick something that you like or something that you kind of remember.  Easy things like ‘purple,’ ‘clown,’ or ‘church,’” he said.  “Everybody will remember that, and then you just add in a couple of letters in between, or special characters in between, word or a capital letter in there, or a numeral somewhere.”

Speaking as the AARP representative, Liparini also described the importance of cybersecurity, specifically for senior citizens, and the dangers posed by hacking and phishing– the use of scams to gain access to a user’s sensitive information by appearing legitimate, whether it be passwords, security information, or date of birth.

“Most AARP members grew up in a time where we were playing with tinker toys, then we graduated to Monopoly.  We didn’t carry around devices that use more computing power than NASA used to send the first man on the moon,” he said. “So we’re subject to hacking and phishing, we really have never been trained how to cope with that.”

Phishing scams include IRS, medicare, technical support, lottery, veteran scam, and romance scams.

While Steinmetz and Liparini described the technical aspects of cybersecurity, Alfred said he was there to talk about the “human side of things,” such as how phishing and “social engineering” play a part in the theft of user’s private information.

Alfred defined social engineering as leveraging and manipulating “human nature” to gain access to private information.

“I’m going to find a way or find something that you know about, and try to entice you by using what you know or what you like,” Alfred said, from the perspective of the social engineer.  “We’re all targets, whether you know it or not.  You have some type of information that they can a little bit of that information and pull it from you.  There’s something called the dark web where they’re able to sell this information.”

Wrapping up, Alfred’s central message to residents in attendance was to be more skeptical of what they come across online.

“Don’t be too trusting, be skeptical of any emails or phone numbers you don’t recognize, and don’t click hyperlinks. If it’s too good to be true, it’s too good to be true,” he said.