Barbara Endicott-Popovsky, Ph.D., is the executive director of the Center for Cybersecurity Assurance (CIAC) at the University of Washington headquartered at UW Bothell. She is available for interview regarding the executive order on cybersecurity that was signed by President Donald Trump.
Executive order is a “critical step”
Endicott-Popovsky, Ph.D., says the executive order is a “critical next step to knit together the efforts of the private and public sectors.” Federal government agencies, she adds, has been “asleep at the switch – they haven’t been grappling with the problem.”
Cybersecurity vulnerabilities are one of today’s most pressing issues, she says. “Couple this with lack of qualified people who are prepared to defend, and you have a recipe for disaster.”
At University of Washington Bothell, CIAC is working to fill the nation’s dearth of cybersecurity professionals. The University has been designated as aNational Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education through 2022. The designation comes from the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. UW Bothell also offers two degree options in cybersecurity, including a Bachelor of Science in computer science and software engineering and a Master of Science in cybersecurity engineering.
A national threat
Across the digital landscape, the federal government faces the challenge of creating partnerships across the private and public sectors so that, together, they can better address cybersecurity issues. “The private sector doesn’t believe they are a target,” she says. “The private sector believes the Department of Defense should be facing nation-state adversaries.”
But the nation’s infrastructure is largely owned by the private sector, she says. Thus, “there’s not a recognition by the general population that cybersecurity is a local problem impacting them. She cited today’s ransomware attacks on hospitals in the U.K. as an example. Now, finally, we are talking about the problem.”