The Cyber Threat: Indiana’s Call to Action

We see it in the news everyday: social media accounts falling victim to cybercriminals and everyday devices connected to the internet, such as cars, under threat of cyberattacks by hackers. Cybersecurity is an issue that affects everyone in Indiana – from small business entrepreneurs to policy makers at the State Capitol.

For aerospace and defense companies, like Raytheon, cyber security is a matter of National Security. Cybersecurity has transcended from an IT issue to one of the highest priorities for our military and other customers.

In the aerospace and defense environment, we view cyberattacks as inevitable. Focus is shifting from traditional cybersecurity to “cyber resiliency”. Because cyberattacks will happen, we need to build systems that prepare for, respond to and recover from cyber events. It is essential that airplanes, for example, continue to fly even after a cyberattack has started.

Gone are the days of applying a software patch to update virus software. The complexity of the issue is exacerbated by threats that come from non-state actors and sometimes from the “insider threat.” There is no single solution to these dynamics. A holistic risk management and resiliency strategy involves everyone in the supply chain.

The good news is that Indiana is uniquely positioned to pioneer cyber resiliency for the country. Indiana’s strong, integrated business network across many sectors, world class academic institutions, non-profit organizations and public partnerships offer a strong foundation upon which to develop a cyber resiliency ecosystem. This ecosystem requires action for Indiana business, Government and other partners:

Develop new, cutting edge solutions: The U.S. Department of Defense budgets $19 Billion for cyber security in 2017. There is a perpetual need to not only develop and implement solutions for military hardware, but also determine potential threat vectors and vulnerabilities. These represent business opportunity and areas of focus for academia.

Nurture cybersecurity talent: There is a vast shortage of cyber technologists and engineers across the country. Cybersecurity programs are proliferating at universities across the country. Indiana’s academic institutions provide an unparalleled program for growing the next generation of engineers and cybersecurity specialists. Continuing to accelerate this education is critical to growing Indiana’s cyber talent.

Grow a secure supply chain: It is only a matter of time before industries such as aerospace and defense, healthcare and financial services develop hard and fast cyber rules that force end-to-end security in supply chains. Indiana businesses that serve these core industries have an opportunity to differentiate themselves by maturing their cyber knowledge and risk management. Steps should be taken now to build resiliency and security into products, services, culture and infrastructure. This trend towards a cyber secure supply chain will only intensify and will require more collaboration in the customer/supplier relationship.

Cybersecurity has evolved beyond “if” a disruptive attack will occur to “when”. Our interdependent systems must be able to withstand an attack. With our strong foundational network of talent, industry, work ethic and state support, Indiana is positioned to become a cyber crossroads of America. Are you ready?

Annita Nerses is the director for Airborne Solutions at Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. She holds a Bachelors of Science and Master of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering from New York University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Physics from Stevens Institute of Technology.