Center Announces New Project on Active Defense Against Cyber Threats

Into the Gray Zone: Active Defense by the Private Sector against Cyber Threats
February 04, 2016

Update (10/31/2016): Final Project Report has been released, now available here.

The Center for Cyber and Homeland Security (CCHS) at the George Washington University is pleased to announce that it has launched a new project looking at the issue of active defense by the private sector against cyber threats. The Center has established a high-level task force that is examining these issues and will release a major report later this year.  The project is being carried out by the Center thanks to the financial support provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Smith Richardson Foundation.  

The objective of the project is to carefully examine an issue that has been a challenge for private sector companies and government agencies in recent years: how can private sector companies effectively and appropriately defend themselves against cyber threats?  Active defense is a term that captures a wide range of cybersecurity measures, beyond passive defenses such as firewalls and security patches. 

The task force is assessing the policy and legal framework for active defense in the United States and in other countries, surveying current practices that companies use to assess risks and protect and defend their systems, and developing a set of guiding principles that can inform responsible action by the private sector and government agencies.  The task force is also examining technological developments that enhance the ability of companies to defend themselves against cyber threats. 

The task force is co-chaired by Admiral Dennis Blair, former Director of National Intelligence; Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of Homeland Security and Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of The Chertoff Group; Frank Cilluffo, Director of CCHS, and Nuala O’Connor, President & CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology.   Within CCHS, the task force is being co-directed by Cilluffo and Christian Beckner, Deputy Director of CCHS.  

The complete list of members of the task force can be found here on the Center’s website.  For more information on the project, please contact the Center by email at cchs@gwu.edu or by phone at 202-994-2437.