The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expects to complete a list of the nation’s most vital functions that must be protected against Cyberattacks before the end of this year, as the agency’s top Cyber official said here at last week.
Director at Homeland Security’s newly approved Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Chris Krebs noted that once the critical functions are classified, DHS will work with federal research facilities and other organizations to outline which of those functions are most indispensable and how they rely on each other. Another DHS official who is leading the identification and mapping process, Bob Kolasky pointed out that the broad goal for the mapping process is to recognize which sectors rely most heavily on a critical function and what the chain reaction would be if a function was compromised by a cyber attack. Kolasky cited the Global Positioning System as an instance. He further said that some sectors could continue performing if GPS was compromised for a short span or had defined accuracy. But, other sectors like the financial sector, which relies on GPS to pinpoint when securities trades occur, need 100 percent efficiency.
Krebs said that the mapping process will likely begin with the telecommunications, finance and energy sectors and other critical infrastructure sectors that are at the highest risks of criminal cyber-attacks. The identification and mapping of critical functions is a project of Homeland Security’s National Risk Management Center, which the department was introduced at a conference in New York in July with Kolasky as its leader. The center’s goal is to address long-range cyber issues that are out of reach for Homeland Security’s cyber operations unit.