May 14, 2015 By Tom Gann In Blog

Shifting the Focus: Cybersecurity as an Enabler

For too long, the cybersecurity industry has focused over-much on doom and gloom topics such as massive hacks and breaches.  While it’s true that it’s still a dangerous world out there, it’s also true that cybersecurity can play a powerful role in improving the lives of all citizens. The right cybersecurity can enable technologies that have the power to help educate, improve healthcare and secure vital critical systems to ensure a reliable supply of water, electricity and other essentials of modern life.  At Intel Security, we are committed to shifting the tone of the discussion to one of vision, opportunity and potential.

To put substance behind this more positive, forward-leaning ambition, we recently hosted two important events.  The first event launched a new solution, Intel Security Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP), which was developed in collaboration with the Department of Energy-funded Discovery Across Texas smart grid project. It was deployed at Texas Tech University and is a joint project of Intel Security and Wind River.  As the traditional approach of patching and rebooting are often not viable solutions to lock down the power grid, we set out to design something that was different, something that would be uniquely able to help secure both legacy and new systems in power grids.

One of our key ambitions was to field test the solution to see how well it worked. A partner in the trial, Milton Holloway, President & COO of the Center for the Commercialization of Electric Technologies, explains the project and its results well:

  • From December 2013 to January 2015, the Intel Security CIP was in a field trial at Texas Tech University, where it performed as required by NIST standards and withstood penetration testing, as well as protected the synchrophasor applications during the Heartbleed vulnerability and Havex attacks.  This project was an outstanding example of a successful public-private partnership in that it produced technologies that are market-ready. What could be a better outcome of a demonstration project?

Our second forward-looking event focused on the challenge of ensuring that patients are able to trust the healthcare devices and systems that are becoming commonplace in medicine today.  We partnered with the world leading, respected think tank the Atlantic Council on a report, The Healthcare Internet of Things: Rewards and Risks.  This study explores security challenges and societal opportunities for networked medical devices, including those that are wearable, temporarily ingested or even embedded in the human body for medical treatment, medication, and general health and wellness. The report makes recommendations for the industry, regulators and the medical profession to help them maximize the value to patients while minimizing the security challenges originating in software, firmware and communications technology across networks and devices.

The common themes in these two launches are pretty simple:  We want to change the debate to one that is a lot more positive and much more focused on discussing ways cybersecurity can be a positive force in improving people’s lives.  The days are gone when vendors can get away with simply scaring the public and policymakers.  We as an industry need to partner with the government, universities, top level think tanks and a wide array of public interest groups to help shift the discussion on cybersecurity to one that properly balances the realities of a dangerous world with the many opportunities to improve people’s lives with technological innovations that address human needs in a safe and secure manner. You can expect more initiatives that show the power of cybersecurity from us at Intel Security.