Like many Americans, I watched the Presidential Debate last night. I could spend pages on what was said and not said by both candidates but one line from Secretary Clinton really stood out to me as a technology professional in the field of Cyber Security.
“We need to make it very clear — whether it’s Russia, China, Iran or anybody else — the United States has much greater capacity. And we are not going to sit idly by and permit state actors to go after our information, our private-sector information or our public-sector information.”
That is, simply put, jaw-dropping. I get that Clinton’s opposition to private prisons was the big surprise policy takeaway from last night but the above statement really should be. This is a Presidential candidate stating in no uncertain terms that she will regard state-actors who attack *private* US cyber-infrastructure to have tempted the wrath of the US government.
Yes, there’s plenty of wiggle room in there and no clear definition of what an attack or response would look like but Clinton is clearly stating that she will regard threats to non-government computer systems as threats against the United States, deserving of the protection and perhaps incurring the retribution of the US government.
That is the most significant and public commitment to private sector cybersecurity by a public sector official that I think we’ve ever seen.