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Federal Leaders Stipulate: Cyber Threats Stretch Beyond Geopolitical Conflict

Cybersecurity has taken the global stage with the prominence of electronic warfare tactics in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but cyber aggression isn’t only a symptom of major geopolitical conflict. It can and does happen with frequency in peacetime and other more unexpected windows as well.

La Monte Yarborough

“While events such as those occurring in Eastern Europe right now can indicate a heightened threat environment and the need for greater vigilance, bad actors will frequently leverage any event to launch cyberattacks. Bad actors capitalize on many types of events such as holidays, elections and geopolitical conflict,” said La Monte Yarborough, chief information security officer at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Curious about how HHS and other federal civilian agencies are embracing and promoting cybersecurity best practices? Want to hear more from HHS CISO Yarborough? Attend the Potomac Officers Club’s Enhancing Cybersecurity for Critical Civilian Infrastructure Forum. The virtual event will take place on March 30 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Register here.

Since protecting cyber resources is not only a concern of the defense community — who released their strategy for implementing the White House-mandated zero trust architecture in Nov. 2022 — other agencies across the federal government are making steps to take the issue seriously. In April 2022, the State Department unveiled and launched the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, a cohort that concentrates especially on international cybersecurity matters.

Donna Bennett

According to Donna Bennett, enterprise chief information security officer at the Department of State, the office’s oversight includes cyber- and digitally originating national security threats, economic conundrums and situations where U.S. values are contested. Bennett will be delivering the keynote address at the Enhancing Cybersecurity… Forum.

“The role of cybersecurity in the State Department’s diplomatic mission cannot be understated…This office will be critical in helping to establish international cyber norms and standards that build capacity, provide deterrence, and promote American values and interests,” Bennett told Federal News Network.

Former Microsoft and EGlobalTech team member Matt House joined the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in Nov. 2022, appointed to lead its Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program as manager. House, who will be participating in a panel discussion alongside Yarborough at the POC event, has big plans for CISA and his department.

Building on his work at past firms assisting the Department of Homeland Security with emboldening its cyber posture, House is committed to institute a number of tangible changes at CISA, such as “operationalizing…investments…giving value and driving visibility for agencies to continue to enhance their ability to combat cyber threats.”

Additionally, the newly instated exec plans to accelerate the installation of endpoint detection and response tools on agency networks and strengthen identity management processes.

Referencing the turbulent, fast-acting nature of the cyber landscape, House said, “the only constant is change, especially in this program.”

If you want to hear more from House, Bennett and Yarborough about their respective agencies’ efforts to move the needle on cybersecurity, register now for Potomac Officers Club’s March 30 Enhancing Cybersecurity for Critical Civilian Infrastructure Forum!

The two-hour symposium will also feature Department of the Treasury Director of the Office of Domestic and International Cybersecurity Policy Brian Peretti during the panel session.

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