Thompson, Ranking Member Leiberman, members of the Committee,
good morning and thank you for including me on this
distinguished panel. My name is James Adams and I am the CEO of
Infrastructure Defense Inc. (iDEFENSE).
way of brief background, iDEFENSE provides intelligence-driven
products -- daily reports, consulting and certification – that
allow clients to mitigate or avoid computer network, Internet
and information asset attacks before they occur. As an example,
iDEFENSE began warning its clients about the possibility of
Distributed Denial of Service attacks – the kinds of hacker
activity that is currently capturing headlines across the globe
- back in October and November of last year.
the outset, I want to commend Senators Thompson and Lieberman,
and their respective staff,
for crafting such thoughtful and badly needed legislation
in the area of computer security for the federal government. We
are currently in the midst of a revolution, the Information
Revolution, which calls for dramatic and bold steps in the area
of securing cyberspace. The old ways of doing business don’t
work any more.
is in this context that the Thompson-Lieberman bill takes a
crucial step forward. By shaking up the current culture of
lethargy and inertia gripping the federal government with a
proposal to put teeth into the OMB’s oversight of computer
security issues this bill is a solid step in the right
does this matter?
revolutions are accomplished without bloodshed. Already, as we
plunge headlong and terribly ill-prepared into the Knowledge
Age, we are beginning to receive the initial casualty reports
from the front lines of the technology revolution and to witness
first-hand the cyberthreats that, if allowed to fully mature,
could cause horrendous damage to society.
The ongoing campaign of Denial of
Service attacks include some of the household names of
e-commerce — Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay, Amazon.com, CNN, ZDNet,
and E*Trade. Comparative newcomer Buy.com was attacked on the
day of its Initial Public Offering, and other smaller firms such
as Datek Online Holdings Corp. experienced problems, which are
probably related to the attacks. Targeted sites receive hits on
their servers of up to one Gigabyte of data per second, and are
unavailable to the general public for anywhere from 30 minutes
to several hours.
the headlines, you would think that these attacks suggested the
end of the cyberworld as we know it. Nothing could be further
from the truth. These were mere pinpricks on the body of
e-commerce. Consider instead that some 30 countries have
aggressive offensive Information Warfare programs and all of
them have America firmly in their sights. Consider, to, that if
you buy a piece of hardware or software from several countries,
among them some of our allies, there is real concern that you
will be buying doctored equipment that will siphon copies of all
material that passes across that hardware or software back to
the country of manufacture.
hacker today isn’t just the stereotypical computer geek with a
grudge against the world because he can’t get a date. And not
every hack that is successfully pulled off is as sophomoric as,
say, a recent incident when the self-styled Masters of
Downloading hacked into the official U.S. Senate Web site and
replaced its front page with a message proclaiming “Screw You
hacker today is much more likely to be in the employ of a
government, of big business or organized crime. And the hackers
of tomorrow will be all of that and the disenfranchised of the
21st century who will resort to the virtual space to
commit acts of terrorism far more effective than anything
we’ve seen from the Armalite or the Semtex bomb in the 20th
the band of Russian hackers who, over the past two years, have
siphoned off an enormous amount of research and development
secrets from U.S. corporate and government entities in an
operation codenamed Moonlight Maze by American intelligence. The
value of this stolen information is in the tens of
millions—perhaps hundreds of millions—of dollars; there’s
really no way to tell. The information was shipped over the
Internet to Moscow for sale to the highest bidder.
this threat was detected by a U.S. government agency.
Unfortunately, that information was not passed on to the private
institutions that it might have helped. Among government and
industry alike, an understanding of the critical
infrastructure’s threat environment is barely in its infancy.
of these attacks, mistakes, and plain acts of God need to be
studied very carefully. Because they define the threat front
that is driving right through our very fragile economic,
governmental, and corporate armor.
are the kind of problems we—jointly, the public and private
sectors—face in the technology revolution. So the big question
is, who is going to solve these problems? The government?
Private industry? Or the two working together? Or are the
problems going to be solved at all?
has government responded so far? Well, there has been the usual
President’s Commission, and then the Principal’s Working
Group, then the bureaucratic compromise that nobody really
wanted and then the National Plan which arrived seven months
late and wasn’t a plan at all but an invitation to have more
discussions. Meanwhile, the government in all its stateliness
continues to move forward as if the Revolution is not happening.
Seven months ago, my company won a major contract with a
government agency to deliver urgently needed intelligence. The
money was allocated, the paperwork done. Yet it remains mired in
the bureaucratic hell from which apparently it cannot be
extricated. Meanwhile that same government agency is under cyber
attack each and every day. This is not a revolution. This is
business as usual.
government agency is trying to revolutionize its procurement
processes to keep up with the pace of the revolution. They are
proudly talking about reducing procurement times down to under
two years. In other words, by the time new equipment is in
place, the revolution has already moved on eight Internet years.
In my company, if I can’t have a revolutionary new system in
place within 90 days, I don’t want it.
this means to me is that the threat is growing rapidly, that a
largely inert government has so far been unable to meet the
challenge and that more must be done. And this does matter
because there is more at stake here than simply whether a new
computer works or does not, whether a web site is hacked or not.
At stake is the relationship between the governed and their
government in a democracy. High stakes indeed.
I welcome the Thompson-Leiberman legislation as a good first
step in the Senate efforts to try and control and drive the
process that will bring the government up to speed with the
revolution. I believe, however, that to effectively cope with
the technology revolution, this proposal must be strengthened a
fix the problems that afflict our body politic and our body
corporate will require far more than Band-Aids. We’re not
talking casts and splints or even organ transplants. What
we’re talking about is leaving the old body and moving into a
new one. We are talking—I am talking—about beginning to make
changes in our cultural, political, and economic processes and
institutions of such magnitude that they will dwarf even those
that accompanied the industrial revolution.
is needed is an outside entity – with real power – to
implement drastic change in the way government approaches
technology and the underlying security of its systems.
Currently, jurisdictional wrangling, procurement problems
and a slew of other issues are seriously hampering governments
ability to stay current with the rapid pace of the Information
Revolution. The Thompson-Lieberman bill provides a framework to
begin sorting through this mess.
what is needed most is a person or an entity that will draw on
skill sets in many areas will overlap that of the CIO, CFO, CSO,
and most of the other officers or entities. Let’s give this
new person the title of Chief of Business Assurance.
Or perhaps the Office of Business Assurance to relate it
directly to the federal government.
new acronym should be the response to the current need. In some
ways it is mirrored by the debate that started at the beginning
of the Information Revolution that led to the appointment of
Chief Information Officers in many companies and within
government. But Business Assurance is more than security, more
than technology, and more than a combination of the two. It is
an understanding of the whole environment and what that means
for a business or a public sector operation.
OBA’s task would be to continuously gather and synthesize
infrastructure-related trends and events, to intelligently
evaluate the technological context within which the organization
operates, to identify and assess potential threats, and then to
suggest defense action. Or, viewed from the positive side, to
assess the technological revolution’s opportunities and
propose effective offensive strategies.
Office of Business Assurance must be a totally independent
organization, with real teeth and power within government.
Those organizations that have the foresight to create and
properly staff this position will be immeasurably better
equipped to handle the tidal wave of change that is just now
beginning to break over our government, industry, economy, and
is much in common between government and industry when it comes
to the challenges—and the opportunities—that the technology
revolution poses. Both sectors face a common threat that ranges
from vandal hackers and hard-core criminals to foreign agents
and natural disasters. Both sectors share common goals for the
well being of America and her people. Both employ technologies
that are in essence identical. And both must work together to
protect each other.
company, Infrastructure Defense, pioneers an approach to
infrastructure protection that is aimed chiefly at the private
sector. Many of the principles, however—value-chain analysis,
for example, and threat analysis—are directly transferable to
government organizations. The two sectors are not that far
common problems and common goals, there are opportunities for
common solutions. One of the most important, I believe—one
that is too new to have been embraced by either the private or
public sector—is the need for every organization to
incorporate a risk-mitigation process. A second priority is to
build a comprehensive information sharing system across all
sectors on cyberthreats and countermeasures. We cannot afford to
allow important information to grow stagnant within particular
public or private entities. The rapid pace of technological
change necessitates a correspondingly robust response mechanism.
I urge this Committee to champion this important issue as the
federal response to the growing cyberthreat is constructed.
leave you with this thought. You will see total transformations
of the way business and government is conducted, internally and
externally. A failure to change to meet these new challenges is
to risk the destruction that all revolutions bring in their
wake. Proactive action is the route to survival.
have heard a great deal in recent months about the potential of
a digital divide that is developing between the computer haves
and the computer have nots. I believe there is another digital
divide that is growing between the American government and its
citizens. If this Committee’s efforts do not move forward in
changing the culture of inertia, there is real danger that the
“digital divide” that exists between the government and the
private sector will only widen. We cannot afford a situation
where the governed feel that their government is out of touch
and increasingly irrelevant to their lives. By stepping up to
the plate and tackling computer security with an innovative,
bold approach the Thompson-Lieberman bill significantly boosts
the chances of reversing the current bureaucratic approach to a
thank you for the honor of appearing before the Committee today.