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DHS Focuses on Physical Damage Via Cyber Attacks

What is happening in cyberspace is secondary to its effects elsewhere for homeland security.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is taking a holistic approach to cybersecurity that focuses on preventing or mitigating the effects of a cyber intrusion on the critical infrastructure, according to a department undersecretary. Suzanne Spaulding, undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate at the department, said continuity of operation is the key to resisting cyber attacks.

Speaking at the opening keynote at the AFCEA International Cyber Symposium, being held June 24-25 in Baltimore, Spaulding described the “whole of nation” approach the DHS is taking for cybersecurity. Saying she is “passionate” about the cyber effect on the physical infrastructure, Spaulding pointed out that the key issue is not what is happening in cyberspace, but its effect on the critical infrastructure.

“The consequences that really keep us awake at night are physical consequences,” she continued. “It’s not just what’s happening in cyber, it’s the cascading physical consequences.

“Cybersecurity is not an objective,” Spaulding stated. “It’s a means to an end.”