The Federal Government Can’t Help us Solve Cybersecurity as these Departures Prove

We expect the federal government to protect us from foreign government invasions and they do a good job at this. When it comes to cybersecurity, however, they cannot do much. If they happen to help – it is typically after an attack, breach, ransomware infection, etc.

In fact, when we discovered Iranian hackers had hacked the control system of a dam in Rye, New York – potentially causing life-threatening problems, we indicted the people responsible but didn’t force Iran to send them to the U.S. for prosecution. This – even while we had the leverage of paying them billions of dollars.

We warned in October that we can’t wait for the federal government to help. If you thought cities could do a better job, don’t hold your breath. Dozens of cities and states have been hit with ransomware and New Orleans even had to declare a state of emergency as a result of a cyber attack – about a week ago.

The Federal government not only can’t defend us today – its cybersecurity experts are leaving… Things could get worse for them and the rest of the country as a result.

Respected and influential government cybersecurity veteran Jeanette Manfra announced recently that she is leaving her position at DHS to join Google as its global director of security and compliance as part of a new security team at Google Cloud. At Google, Manfra, who currently holds the title of Assistant Director for Cybersecurity for the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, will spearhead an “Office of the CISO” initiative at Google Cloud to help customers improve their security postures.

Manfra’s departure is just the latest in a string of high-profile departures from the ranks of well-regarded cybersecurity experts from the federal government. Google recruited at least two other prominent government cybersecurity officials to join its ranks. Kate Charlet, who served as acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy at the Department of Defense, left in 2017 and is now Director of Data Governance at Google.  Daniel Pietro, who was Director for Cybersecurity Policy on the staff of the National Security Council, left his role in 2017 to work at Google as an executive for Public Sector Cloud at Google.

In 2018, the Trump administration eliminated the top White House cybersecurity role when then-national security advisor John Bolton cut the cybersecurity coordinator role at the National Security Council prompting, Rob Joyce, the first coordinator, to return to the NSA. Tom Bossert, another highly regarded cybersecurity official, left his position as White House Cybersecurity Advisor, reportedly pushed out by Bolton.

The challenge for everyone else is, they cannot rely on the government for help.

Companies, nonprofits, cities, counties, states, individuals, all need to take the appropriate steps to protect themselves, understanding help from the federal government will not keep them from becoming victims.

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