Recent Events

On October 10, 2018, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative convened key stakeholders from the financial, governmental and academic communities to convene for the release of a joint report by the Brookings Institution and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, The Future of Financial Stability and Cyber Risk. The panel was moderated by Katheryn Rosen, a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative and a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Despite the unique threats that cyber risks pose to the finance industry, they remain misunderstood and fail to be well-managed. A central issue concerning businesses and policy makers is discerning how cyber risks differ from the shocks that have traditionally impacted the financial market.
The event “Hacker-Powered Security: Voices on Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure” hosted at the Atlantic Council’s headquarters on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, celebrated the launch of the comic book, It Takes a Village: How Hacktivity Can Save Your Company—an endeavor of the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative supported by HackerOne, a company that connects ethical, white-hat hackers with companies and government agencies to find and disclose vulnerabilities through bug bounties or Vulnerability Disclosure Programs (VPDs).
On September 12, 2018, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative launched an issue brief, Defining Russian Election Interference: An Analysis of Select 2014 to 2018 Cyber Enabled Incidents. As the extent of foreign interference in domestic elections over the world becomes clear, an essential first step in combatting cyber-enabled interference is developing a common terminology that can then guide strategy going forward.
On Saturday, March 17, the Atlantic Council’s sixth annual Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge in Washington, DC, concluded with the Air Force Cyber College’s “Team Fightin’ Electrons” winning first place.

The Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge is a one-of-a-kind competition designed to provide students across academic disciplines with a deeper understanding of the policy challenges associated with cyber crisis and conflict. Part interactive learning experience and part competitive scenario exercise, it challenges teams to respond to a realistic, evolving cyberattack and analyze the threat it poses to national, international, and private sector interests. The 2018 competition was held on March 16-17 at American University’s School of International Service (SIS), and featured over 150 students from fifteen states across the United States. Student teams competed to offer their best national-security policy recommendations for combating evolving fictional cyber crisis scenarios. This year’s scenario featured the risk of vulnerabilities in blockchain technologies for US national security.
On October 10th, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative and DEF CON hosted a public event on the vulnerabilities in US voting infrastructure and recommendations for a path forward in securing our democracy. Panelists included Ambassador Douglas Lute, former US permanent representative to NATO; Jeff Moss, founder of DEF CON and senior fellow for the Cyber Statecraft Initiative; John Gilligan, chairman of the board for the Center for Internet Security; Sherri Ramsay, former director of the NSA/CSS Threat Operations Center; and Harri Hursti, founding partner of Nordic Innovation Labs and organizer of the DEF CON Voting Village. The panel was moderated by Jake Braun, a lecturer at the University of Chicago and opening remarks were given by Fred Kempe.
On November 7, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative launched its first-ever report on Aviation Cybersecurity—Finding Lift, Minimizing Drag, underwritten by Thales. The event featured a keynote by Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications at the US Department of Homeland Security. Opening remarks were provided by The Hon. Jane Holl Lute, CEO of SICPA North America, former deputy secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security and Atlantic Council Board Director, as well as Alan Pellegrini, CEO of Thales North America and Atlantic Council Board Director.
 
In an increasingly connected aviation ecosystem, the ever-expanding and complex cybersecurity issues that affect aviation stakeholders are immense. The launch convened a group of leading aviation industry and cybersecurity experts that discussed the report's key findings and examined the threats, vulnerabilities and potential solutions. Panelists included Pete Cooper, author of the report and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Cyber Statecraft Initiative; Christian Espinosa, white hat hacker and CEO of Alpine Security; Steve Luczynski, former deputy director of cyber plans and operations at the Office of the Secretary of Defense; David Silver, vice president of civil aviation at the Aerospace Industries Association and Elizabeth Wharton, senior assistant city attorney for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

On August 2, 2017, the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted a panel discussion on the week-long round of cybersecurity conferences known as “Hacker Summer Camp” – DEF CON, Black Hat, and BSides Las Vegas. Ariel Robinson, Analyst and Reporter for ITSP Magazine and Host of The Tech Effect podcast, moderated a conversation with Nick Leiserson, Legislative Director for the Office of U.S. Representative Jim Langevin; Cris Thomas (also known as Space Rogue), Global Strategy Lead for IBM X-Force Red; Jessica Wilkerson, Professional Staff Member of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce; and Beau Woods, Deputy Director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security on the three cybersecurity conferences that welcomed top hackers, academics, journalists, professionals, and government representatives. 
On Monday July 17th, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft initiative, part of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, held a moderated discussion where panelists Laura Galante, senior fellow with the Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative and former director of Global Intelligence at FireEye; Alexander Klimburg, senior fellow with the Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative and program director at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies; Jane Holl Lute, Atlantic Council board director and CEO of SICPA; and  moderator Tal Kopan, political reporter at CNN, discussed the chilling consequences of cyberspace as a new field of conflict.
On May 12, 2017, the world was shaken by a ransomware cyberattack called Wanna Crypt (also known as WannaCry) that spread like a network worm. The attack impacted over 45 National Health System (NHS) organizations across England and Scotland, forcing hospitals to cancel appointments and loose critical patient records, as well as the German S-Bahn.

The impacts did not stop there. In less than ten days, WannaCry affected approximately 200,000 systems in 150 countries, swiftly becoming one of the most impactful malware outbreaks in recent history, and dominating the news cycle for the next several days.
At what point does a cyberattack become an act of war? Should the government react to a cyber-attack on the private sector? Is cyber privateering the answer to the government’s woes? These were some of the questions students (including this author) contended with at the Atlantic Council’s 2017 Cyber 9/12 student challenge on March 17 and 18.

Held at American University’s Washington College of Law, this was the fifth and biggest iteration of the annual student competition. Forty-five teams from 32 universities from across the United States took on the roles of cyber policy experts advising the National Security Council on how to react to a fictional cyber catastrophe.


    

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