Cyberwarfare / Nation-State Attacks , Fraud Management & Cybercrime

Cyberwar: Assessing the Geopolitical Playing Field

Tom Kellermann, Richard Bird on How Government and Companies Can Win the Cyberwar
Cyberwar: Assessing the Geopolitical Playing Field
Richard Bird of and Tom Kellermann of Contrast Security

The United States is arguably involved in the first cyberwar - against Russia and China, Unfortunately, on the battlefields of intelligence, leadership, economics, technology and education, the U.S. appears to be losing.

In this episode of "Cybersecurity Unplugged," Tom Kellerman of Contrast Security and Richard Bird of discuss what the U.S. government and companies need to do to win this cyberwar.

Digital transformation has made us more exposed to cyberattacks, in which the adversaries want to hijack that transformation and use it to disrupt government agencies or large companies, says Kellermann. "We need to begin with a counterinsurgency within our infrastructures and within our supply chain," he says.

While companies that have fallen victim to recent large data breaches say the attacks were sophisticated, Richard Bird says he believes the opposite is true. "The giant hole within cyber defenses today is just simply basics," he says. And Kellermann calls for "greater attention to defending from within" and not relying too heavily on encryption.

In this episode, Kellermann and Bird also discuss:

  • The lack of human capital in cybersecurity and the loss of seasoned veterans through burnout or corporate poaching;
  • The importance of mandating the CISO position and having CISOs report to CEOs and the board rather than to CIOs;
  • The need for government mandates to set breach reporting requirements, modernize forfeiture and anti-money laundering laws, and address crypto markets that allow adversaries to transfer money through anonymous channels.

Kellermann, senior vice president of cyber strategy at Contrast Security, is the former head of cybersecurity strategy at VMware, as well as the former CEO of Strategic Cyber Ventures. He served on the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th president of the United States and was an adviser to the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance. When he served as chief cybersecurity officer for Trend Micro, he was responsible for analysis of emerging cybersecurity threats and relevant defensive technologies.

Bird is chief security officer at He previously served as chief product officer for SecZetta. Bird has been a C-level executive in both the corporate and startup worlds and is internationally recognized for his expert insights, work and views on cybersecurity data privacy, digital consumer rights and identity-centric security. He's also a senior fellow with the CyberTheory Zero Trust Institute, a Forbes tech council member and the host of the "Who The Heck Are You" podcast. Bird has been interviewed frequently by media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Bloomberg and the Financial Times and is known as the "father of identity management."

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