The United States is facing so many foreign cyberthreats that the military has no choice but to prioritize critical infrastructure that’s most important to Americans — protecting things like the electrical grid, power plants and national security networks. The U.S. government and private companies also need to consider a range of problems that can heighten their vulnerability to hackers and data breaches, from a lack of education to the inability to retain top security experts. In fact, the only thing Americans can know for sure is that the recent, devastating hacks on Anthem health insurance and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management represent a sign of things to come.
That’s the message from Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Rhett Hernandez. The former commander of U.S. Army Cyber Command, who was responsible for ensuring the Army and Department of Defense “maintained their freedom to operate while taking that away from others,” told IBTimes in an exclusive interview that, while the U.S. is less vulnerable than it was when he assumed command in 2010, there’s still a long way to go.
Hernandez retired from the military in 2013. He now works at the Army Cyber Institute and was recently named to the board of advisers at ProtectWise, a cybersecurity startup that monitors client networks by recording all the activity that takes place there.
We started our conversation with a look at signature-based detection, a common but outdated method of matching a strain of malicious software to known, previous attacks. Hackers easily avoid this by simply adjusting the programming code in their malware.