Dear President-elect Donald J. Trump,
America needs your help and bold leadership. Politicians, government, and private sector leaders have let us down and put our great nation at serious risk for decades. The risk continues to grow. You have shaken up the status quo while leveraging technology and modern communication like no other. This gives me great hope.
Our nation has been leveraging technology for profit with little to no regard for the threat of the cyber– a double-edged sword. We obviously needed new leadership to address the cyber threat that presents a clear and present danger to every aspect of our public safety, and national and economic security today.
America is by far the most vulnerable nation to cyber threats and ripe for exploitation by anti-social adolescents, rebellious teenagers, disaffected loners, organized criminals, terrorists, and nation states. Our financial systems, emergency management, energy, public works, communications, transportation, nuclear, water, agriculture, defense industrial base are all our great nation's strengths, but now also our Achilles' heel.
Previous administrations and congresses have kicked the can down the road for thirty years, opting for the easy rather than the difficult. They have been paralyzed by ignorance and the need to maintain the status quo.
As president, your primary mission is to protect America's public safety and economic and national security. There are two critical topics that desperately need your administration's leadership and priority.
- Digital Forensics
Every federal, state, and local law enforcement agency as well as our counterintelligence and Intelligence agencies need qualified, funded digital forensics examiners. In today's environment there are few crimes that don't have a digital nexus. Between investigating hacking, cyber bullying, human trafficking, child pornography, identity theft, homicides, etc., digital evidence plays a key and critical role today. One thing every law enforcement agency has in common is a general lack of resources, training, and qualified people. Government politicians at the federal, state, and local levels have seriously neglected to recognize and fund the area of digital forensics since it is expensive and quite frankly, they don't understand it.
Every critical infrastructure, be it public or private, needs trained and qualified people. Cyber attacks now affect all of our citizens. The recently reported Yahoo intrusions compromised one billion users, and there has also been an attempted influencing of our Presidential election. Cyber attacks are reported almost every evening on the national news today, yet little is done to prevent them. There are no rules of engagement for nation states in the cyber realm nor regulations mandating cybersecurity for the public sector critical infrastructures. I'm not much of an advocate for government regulation except when it involves public safety. Perhaps the time has come to regulate cybersecurity of private sector critical infrastructures that affect all Americans’ safety as well as economic and national security.
At the turn of the last century, fire was a significant threat to public safety. Government had to step in and mandate fire suppression systems (sprinklers) to protect the public and property. We need a bold leader to take on this century's greatest threat to our public safety, and economic and national security.
If you want to create jobs in America, I would suggest resourcing and researching digital forensics and cybersecurity training, education, and equipment. America needs you to lead in these critical disciplines that have been neglected by the professional politicians for decades.
I hope you will make digital forensics and cybersecurity a priority for America. Attention desperately needs to be given to public safety and economic and national security, which would thereby create tens of thousands of well-paying high-tech jobs.
Jim Christy is VP of Investigations and Digital Forensics at Cymmetria. Jim retired from the U.S. government in 2013, ending a career investigating computer crimes and running digital forensics labs that began in 1986 at the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.
Jim can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Connect with Jim on Twitter: @jimchristyusdfc