Last Updated: 12/12/2013*

Online attackers are putting new pressure on the United States' cyber defenses, evolving every day and targeting both public and private networks, government officials warned at a forum sponsored by Politico and Raytheon.

Only joint efforts can counter these determined threats, Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, said during the event. 

National Security Agency Gen. Keith Alexander
Gen. Keith Alexander discusses cyber threats with Politico reporter Tony Romm at the Cyber 7 forum in Washington.

“Cyber is made for alliances: government to industry, government to government,” Alexander told the audience at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. “We have to get out in front of that.”
 
Such information-sharing is becoming critical as private companies try to fend off attackers that are using similar tools and strategies, said Rep. Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

“Ninety percent of critical infrastructure is owned by private sector,” McCaul said. “They have the biggest share of threat information.”

Rep Michael McCaul (R-Texas) at Politico Cyber7
Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, urged better cooperation between businesses and government.

The event, "Cyber 7: The Seven Key Questions Driving the Cybersecurity Agenda" coincided with the 10th anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which aims to educate Americans about the safety of their online interactions and activities.

Raytheon helped kick off the month with an event at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Raytheon’s chief information security officer, Jeff Brown, described how the company has focused on one of the weakest links in cybersecurity: employees themselves.

“Consistently messaging and sponsoring events that raise awareness have helped us decrease undesirable and potentially harmful behaviors,” Brown said during the event. “As a result, we’ve cut our click-throughs on malicious emails by half.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month showcases opportunities for government and industry to cooperate and help every American stay safer online.

To learn more about the month’s activities visit www.staysafeonline.org 

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