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America’s Experts on the Biggest Threats and Challenges Facing Us in 2019

From Homeland Security Today

As a political standoff shut down the government for 35 days, homeland security professionals scrambled to continue the mission. From Russia to China, to cyber attacks and near daily mass shootings, read on for where we should focus as a nation and in our communities. We reached out to our cadre of experts to ask: What are the real worries?

Cybersecurity and Technology

Unsurprisingly, cybersecurity maintains its place high on the agenda. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has focused on the cyber threat and continues to focus resources and attention on the cyber realm. She has argued that it is the very diversity and multifaceted nature of cyber attacks that makes securing this unseen threat such a challenge.

“Cyber attacks now exceed the risk of physical attacks,” Nielsen said in September. “Don’t get me wrong: terrorists, criminals, and foreign adversaries continue to threaten the physical security of our people. But cyberspace is now the most active battlefield, and the attack surface extends into every single American home.”

IoT and Our Supply Chain

The “Internet of Things,” or IoT, has risen to “buzzword” status – making some people’s eyes roll over and others, understandably, increasingly worried. Experts at the Chertoff Group, a consulting firm focused on security and risk management advisory services led by former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, believe the increasingly complex nature of our technology supply chain represents a top security risk that will require a new level of convergence across physical, information technology and operational technology programs.

“These risks are magnified by growing complexity in the way software is developed, maintained and retired in today’s rapidly evolving technology sector. The Ford F-150 features more than 150 million lines of code – as compared with 2 million lines of code for the Lockheed F22 Raptor. Moreover, with respect to the ingredients into that code, open source software libraries are now widely used across global industry – by some estimates, there will be almost a half-billion open-source libraries available to developers within a decade,” Chertoff Group Principal Adam Isles told Homeland Security Today.

“As these risks are magnified as Internet of Things technologies proliferate, the potential consequences of IoT-focused attacks will grow accordingly.”

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