Napolitano: Security is everyone’s responsibility

Filed under: Daily News | Tags:

Protecting the nation’s cyber networks is everyone’s responsibility, not just the government’t.

That’s the message U.S. Homeland Defense Secretary Janet Napolitano brought to the National Defense Symposium today at The Broadmoor.

She said Every user should be responsible for keeping cyber space secure and free of viruses, worms and other threats.

“Because it is so widely distributed, every single user is a potential security issue,” Napolitano said. “Everyone owns part of the opportunity, but they also own part of the responsibility for security.”

She compared it to putting seat belts in cars. Now, everyone automatically wears a seatbelt – it is, in fact, a law in most states – but it took a cultural shift to get there.

“This is our message,” Sec. Napolitano said. “We need to get as a country, good cyber security, good online practices are as part of life as putting seat belts on when you get in the car. We have to get that point in cyber security from a public-at-large perspective. We need to get there quickly.”

There’s a “need for speed,” she said, because of the ever-changing nature of technology and the cyber world.

“It is about urgency, it’s about capacity, it’s about the ability to collaborate,” she said. “This realm changes more quickly than we can talk about it. Government, business, international — everyone has the need for security; everyone has responsibility for that security.”

DHS is taking the lead for securing civilian government networks, while the Pentagon is responsible for military networks. The two are collaborating, sharing information and techniques, however.

And DHS is hiring. The department tripled it cyber security team last year and plans to double that number this year.