b'Story Behind the Story: Interview with Michelle Valdez D Did the people in charge underestimate the threat?F: MICHELLE: Regardless of who is in the White House, we At the time, companies really thought they could do this on their own. They didnt think they needed to know external countries influenced our 2016 work together. They had their own teams, their own technology, and felt they could protect their company.The reality is that companies are so interconnected, sharing vulnerabilities, and when one gets attackedelections in a way that had a major impact it jumps to three other companies. Over time, sharing began to improve within and then across sectors. on our country and its citizens on many The Defense Industrial Base and Financial sectors lead the way. Fast-forward to today, the same peopledifferent levels, including national security say the only way we can get ahead of the threat is if we do it together. and defense.D Are the Government and private sector now sharing information theF: way theyre supposed to?MICHELLE: D F: DHS has designated U.S. Elections Its like night and day from where we started back in 2005. We are sharing way more than we ever did. The as critical infrastructure, warning creation and evolution of Information Sharing & Analysis Centers, ISACs, has really helped critical infrastructurean attack could have significantsectors. The Financial Sector ISAC has been doing it longer and has some really sophisticated mechanisms in place, including highly trained analysts on staff looking at all aspects of cybersecurity and cyber resiliency;consequences on the nation.there are also working groups from policy, to tabletops, to technical threats. MICHELLE:Other ISACs dont yet have as many formal mechanisms in place. They dont have the same level of fundingMost citizens, even to this day, still dont understand the depth of manipulation. Regardless of who is in the or resources. A lot of initiatives are being developed to close the gap and put everyone on equal footing, soWhite House, we know external countries influenced our 2016 elections in a way that had a major impact on its not a pay-to-play barrier of entry. our country and its citizens on many different levels, including national security and defense.Thats why in September 2020, before the elections, the FBI and DHS came out with an alert telling companies D On a scale of 1 to 10, when it comes to sharing information to reduce and the public: This is going to happen. You should be aware of it.F:risk, how is everyone doing?MICHELLE: Unfortunately, we are still behindD F: Your last government job, after DOD and DNI, was with DHS. How I would say 7the reason is, the quality of our technologyimportant was that job?is only as good as the data it has. Companies are nowthe threat, in part, because less afraid for people to know whats happening to them we operate in businesses andMICHELLE:and share that information. Even the government has businesses have rules and lawsI 100% guarantee I would not be where I am today if it were not for that role. I got the unbelievable opportunity changed its approach.In the past, FBI and DHS information to interact with CEOs, CIOs, CSOs, CISOs, and CTOs of major companies across every critical infrastructure and regulations. Bad guys dont. sector. My job involved building a framework to convince companies to share indicators of things happening would have been classified because they were worried about sharing sensitive intelligence. Now, instead of theon their network so that DHS could have a huge view of all of the activity that was going on and activate whole report being classified, one line may be redactedtheir intelligence capabilities to try and predict what the bad guys were doing, who they were going after, and the rest can be shared to help companies better protect themselves. and help other companies prevent these same attacks on their networks. At the time, there was a definite concern the next terrorist attack was going to be a cyber attack connected with a kinetic attack.The fact this COVID-19 is a perfect example. Every company found themselves in the same situation:A massivelyprogram still exists and has had such an impact on the country is really cool.increasing attack surface and bad guys attacking indiscriminately. Companies weresharing indicators of compromise across sectors, along with tactics to identify the threat quickly, lock things down, and set upbest defenses and responses. None of that happened 15 years ago. It wasnt until after 2010 that thingsreally started to take shape, and you saw different sectors setting up analysis centers and sharing data. Unfortunately,we are still behind the threat, in part, because we operate in businesses and businesses have rules and laws and regulations. Bad guys dont.Page 33 Page 34'