As Steve mentioned this morning, cybersecurity is one of the wireless industry’s top priorities. After attending the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearing entitled, “Cybersecurity: Threats to Communications Networks and Public-Sector Responses,” I was pleased that many policymakers and witnesses recognized there is no “silver-bullet” to effective cybersecurity countermeasures. Instead, effective cybersecurity is an effort that must be on-going and flexible so we keep pace with the increasingly sophisticated and ever evolving and emerging threats. Rest assured, the wireless industry remains vigilant in an increasingly complex environment and ecosystem.
While I’ve been involved in telecom and technology for more than 30 years, it’s still amazing to think about how the wireless Internet has transformed the world. But it’s not done yet! We continue to see new and innovative consumer and enterprise products and services at an accelerating pace. Not only do we see unprecedented excitement in the market about the latest wireless tablet or smartphone, but every industry sector – such as banking, healthcare, transportation, etc. – is being transformed.
As consumers increasingly rely on wireless devices as their preferred communications platform, it is reasonable to expect that cyber threats to mobility networks and end-user devices will continue to grow. Unfortunately, it will likely be at an accelerated rate.
Cybersecurity is indeed a very complex and multifaceted topic where some legislation may help improve the security of the nation. However, in the same way that a locksmith is the best position to advise about the appropriate lock for a particular door, wireless industry experts must have the flexibility to keep pace and react appropriately toward the latest threats since they constantly change and evolve daily.
Even though regulators and legislators may have the best intentions, a mandated cybersecurity solution would actually open the door to greater vulnerabilities. It would not improve the security profile of the nation.
That’s why Steve said we’re convening a group of our members, government agency representatives and researchers and experts from around the country to work together in partnership to protect our wireless networks and devices against threats. In particular, this group will focus on sharing:
- Best practices and existing standards (including technical exchange)
- Known vulnerabilities and countermeasures
- Suggestions and ideas on how the industry improves security while being technology agnostic and maintain the openness of the Internet
This will also avoid duplicating efforts that are already underway by members or other industry groups.
I’m looking forward to working closely with this group to support the industry’s efforts in cybersecurity and build upon the industry’s hallmark of innovation and advanced technology. In the same way that the wireless industry has transformed communications and our interactions, we will also rise to the challenge and effectively address cybersecurity.