Maryland Poised to be the Nation’s Leader in Cybersecurity
Everything from simple documents and media entertainment to municipal operations and national security is being digitized and becoming highly susceptible to hackers and thieves. Digitization is the process by which an object, sound, image, document or signal is converted from its physical state into a digital state. The resulting digital files travel the Internet or are stored on computer hard drives, flash drives, handheld devices and networks. Your music, your bank checks, your neighborhood water supply, your state power grid, your country’s defense systems – all these things that run the world – your world – unseen are at risk. Cybersecurity is the growing industry related to protecting our increasingly digital lives.
Through a convergence of events, cybersecurity is rapidly gaining momentum and recognition in Maryland. Maryland may be known for historic sites, great seafood and the most recent Super Bowl Champions, but through efforts large and small, locally and nationally, Maryland is poised to become the center of the cybersecurity field.
In 2012, federal agencies reported nearly 50,000 incidents of cyber attacks. With current federal legislation stalled or thwarted and no major legislation on this topic enacted since the Federal Information Security Management Act in 2002 addressing the security of federal information systems, President Obama stepped in earlier this year to help guide efforts to secure our digital borders. In February 2013, Obama issued an Executive Order calling for private sector and public agencies to work together for collaborative improvement. The order titled “Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity” states that it “is the policy of the United States to enhance the security and resilience of the Nation’s critical infrastructure and to maintain a cyber environment that encourages efficiency, innovation, and economic prosperity while promoting safety, security, business confidentiality, privacy, and civil liberties. We can achieve these goals through a partnership with the owners and operators of critical infrastructure to improve cybersecurity information sharing and collaboratively develop and implement risk-based standards.”
According to the Congressional Research Service Report prepared for members and committees of Congress, the Executive Order puts in place the following:
•Expanding to other critical infrastructure sectors an existing Department of Homeland Security program for information sharing and collaboration between the government and the private sector
•Establishing a broadly consultative process for identifying critical infrastructure with especially high priority for protection
•Requiring the National Institute of Standards and Technology to lead in developing a cybersecurity framework of standards and best practices for protecting critical infrastructure
•Requiring regulatory agencies to determine the adequacy of current requirements and their authority to establish requirements to address the risks.
At the mid-year conference of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers held in May of this year in Washington D.C., Andy Ozment, senior director for cybersecurity at the White House told attendees, “You own and operate critical infrastructure. Your own services constitute critical infrastructure in ways that are hugely important. We have to work with you to identify those portions of your systems and networks that are the most important and the most critical, and share with you whatever resources we can to help you secure those.” In fact, states deliver over $600 billion in federal programs to citizens.
Cybersecurity HIRING EVENT
Maryland Makes a Move
The National Governors Association announced the creation of a new organization in October 2012 called the Resource Center for State Cybersecurity to help states and their agencies guard against cybersecurity threats. The resource center is led by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
In a press release, O’Malley said, “The overall goal of the resource center is to help governors create the most robust policy environment possible to protect our infrastructure, our government and our citizens from cyber threats and data breaches. This project is a significant step because it marks the first major focus on the role of states in protecting cybersecurity infrastructure.”
Taking steps at the state level to cash in on the focus, reality and potential economic boom of the current $207 billion cybersecurity industry, Gov. O’Malley signed legislation in May that awards a total $3 million offer of tax breaks to be distributed among cybersecurity startups already in the state or who agree to locate here. Mark A. Vulcan, program manager at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, says that this is unique and sets Maryland apart from other states vying for business in that this tax credit goes directly to the company and not the “angel” investor in that entity.
Maryland, with its strategic proximity to Washington, D.C., is host to some of the nation’s largest defense and security companies among the top 20 worldwide in the cybersecurity business, including Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., General Dynamics, Intel, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, among others.
In a press release distributed in May, the Greater Baltimore Committee announced the formation of a new joint task force with the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore to solidify Maryland’s Baltimore-Washington corridor as the global center for cyber industry development. The newly created Baltimore-Washington Cyber Task Force will partner with a number of public and private sector organizations to develop and to begin implementing a strategy for cyber industry growth around the activities of the new U.S. Cyber Command at the U.S. Army’s Fort George G. Meade.
Quickly becoming a premier event in the cyber world, the CyberMaryland Conference will be held in Baltimore again Oct. 8-9. At last year’s CyberMaryland 2012, over 900 participants convened to explore opportunities and share ideas with cyber leaders and experts from across the country including federal, state and local government agencies, academic institutions, entrepreneurs and research and development professionals. Last year’s conference was highlighted with the induction of the inaugural class in the newly established Cybersecurity Hall of Fame whose mission is to “Respect the Past – Protect the Future.” The second class will be inducted at this year’s conference.
Another anticipated event tied to the CyberMaryland Conference is the Maryland Cyber Challenge, the premier statewide cyber competition showcasing today’s students and tomorrow’s technologists with three levels of competition: High School, College and Professional. According to its website, (www.fbcinc.com/e/cybermdconference/challenge.aspx) “the Maryland Cyber Challenge aims to build excitement around pursuing a career in the cybersecurity field and strengthen Maryland’s position as a cybersecurity leader by bringing together the state’s best and brightest cyber warriors.”
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told attendees at a Brookings Institution forum in July that “intrusion attempts on critical civilian infrastructure systems have increased 17-fold over the last two years. The gap between cyber defenses deployed across critical infrastructure and offensive tools we now know exist presents a significant vulnerability for our nation.” Continuing, he said that Defense Department would be growing its capacity to protect its own networks over the next four years by adding 4,000 cyber operators to the ranks of U.S. Cyber Command and investing $23 billion in cybersecurity.
Anticipating newcomers and budding entrepreneurs to the burgeoning field of cybersecurity, as well other tech start ups, Harford County’s Office of Economic Development opened The Ground Floor in Havre de Grace in May of this year. The Ground Floor provides co-working space and resources for tech companies who will prosper from a collaborative working environment.
The operations of the agencies and military units stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground are centered on the mission of “Protecting the Warfighter.” This protection extends to cybersecurity to maintain the integrity of military systems and communications. Army Research Laboratory, for instance, focuses its efforts on “helping the Army maintain safe and reliable communications throughout the entire spectrum of its channels, ranging from mobile ad hoc networks to office LANs and everything in between,” according to the Army Alliance website. “Currently under development at ARL are projects such as enhancing malware detection and intrusion detection so that these technologies have a maximum effect across the Army’s Global Information Grid.”
The Communications-Electronics Research Development Engineering Center also located at APG has information assurance as one of its directorates. The Cyber Offensive Operations Division is tasked with developing effective intelligence and information warfare tools that equip soldiers with the necessary systems to ensure information dominance. I95