Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Cyberattacks Are Like Horror Movies, FCC Acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel Observes

Federal Communications Commission acting chair Jessica Rosenworcel has observed that the recent breach of Microsoft Exchange shows cybersecurity threat is thriving due to inadequate internal and external defense. She further explained this by linking the recent attack on horror movies.

Rosenworcel, the interim FCC chair appointed by the United States President Joe Biden, issued this statement during a Center for Strategic and International Studies webinar. According to her, cyberattacks are much like scary movies in the manner by which they unfold. She explained this by pointing at how the country fights cyber threats by barricading external loopholes only to realize the danger is already hiding inside.

The recent attack on Microsoft Exchange servers has brought debate and concern on how responsible agencies and organizations should protect themselves. Rosenworcel, in the webinar, strongly likened the latest attack to scary movies. The chairwoman advanced her arguments by giving possible solutions while pointing out the limits that have made this campaign unsuccessful for a long time.

She did not shy away from emphasizing how for many years, their strive to protect themselves from external threats has been entirely wrong. While they have been concentrating on external sources, their greatest enemies have been lying right on the nation’s commercial networks. She, therefore, insists on the need for the responsible agencies to develop robust strategies that are not only focused on external threats but also those right within the country.

With the introduction of 5G and the nature of the potential threats it comes with, she is afraid more problems are likely to be experienced. She connoted the deployment of 5G networks will bring additional challenges for the Federal Communications Commission to handle and more unpredictable threats to nearly all sectors of life. Rosenworcel explained her horror movie theory on three significant attributes; never split up, have a backup plan and never open the door.

The scary movie tropes, ‘never split up,’ are highly applicable in the fight against cyberattacks. Here, Rosenworcel urges the essence of fostering trust among government agencies. Also, she points out the need for foreign partners to join hands in this quest. Like preventing the horror flicks, she suggested that institutions in this struggle must avoid as much fragmentation as possible.

Another essential tip for horror movie survival is never to open the door. Similarly, FCC and other agencies should fight cyberattacks by concentrating on external threats. The chairwoman affirmed the USA government realizes this by closing possible entries like delaying China’s ZTE and Huawei devices. She explained the steps the agency has taken to stop access to the US markets by the Chinese, like revoking domestic and international authorizations for some telecommunication companies with roots in China.

On having a backup plan, the acting chairwoman emphasized being at par with competitors. She reiterated the agency is looking to begin an inquiry into open radio access networks. The United States gets most of its RAN devices from outside companies, most of which are China-based. Therefore, the Federal Communications Commission is researching and implementing rules to encourage more local growth and supply of such equipment.

Rosenworcel said the United States will reduce as much as possible export of RAN equipment by diversifying supplies. She further explained the need to look into any possibility of network openness being the cause of the rampant cyberattacks. The FCC, through the chairwoman, affirmed its steadfast commitment to developing the right strategies to handle any case. She insisted that looking into network openness should be essential for the United States to get the issue right, especially on the 5G leadership end.

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