Menu
FCC will push network providers on cybersecurity, Wheeler says

FCC will push network providers on cybersecurity, Wheeler says

If private companies don't improve their security efforts, the agency will step in with regulations, the FCC's chairman said

U.S. President Barack Obama has nominated Tom Wheeler to be chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

U.S. President Barack Obama has nominated Tom Wheeler to be chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is threatening to step in with regulations if network providers don't improve cybersecurity.

The FCC will take steps to encourage cybersecurity in the coming months, acting first as a promotor of company-led initiatives instead of a regulator, in keeping with its congressionally defined mission to promote the national defense and public safety, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said. But if that doesn't lead to improvements, the agency is prepared to act.

"The challenge is that this private sector-led effort must be more dynamic than traditional regulation and more measurably effective than blindly trusting the market or voluntary best practices to defend our country," Wheeler said during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. "We believe there is a new regulatory paradigm where the commission relies on industry and the market first while preserving other options if that approach is unsuccessful."

Echoing the current debate over the FCC's authority to enforce net neutrality rules, Wheeler promised that the agency will push network operators to improve cybersecurity even as those companies move more of their traffic from the more heavily regulated analog telephone network to more lightly regulated Internet Protocol-based networks.

"The FCC cannot abdicate its responsibilities simply because the threats to national security and life and safety have begun to arrive via new technologies," he said. "If a call for help doesn't go through, if an emergency alert is hijacked, if our core network infrastructure goes down, are we really going to say, 'Well, that threat came through packet-switched IP-based networks, not circuit-switched telephony, so it's not our job?'"

The FCC will push operators of U.S. communications networks to adopt cybersecurity best practices developed by the FCC's advisory committee, the Communications, Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council [CSRIC], Wheeler said.

The FCC, in coming weeks, will look at whether network operators have implemented these 2011 recommendations, which include domain name security, Internet route hijacking measures and an antibotnet code of conduct, Wheeler said. The agency will also study whether the recommendations, where adopted, have been effective, he said.

Wheeler challenged Internet companies to focus more resources on cybersecurity risk management and on public safety, saying the results of that private effort need to be "more demonstrably effective than blindly trusting the market."

A new private-sector focus on cybersecurity "can't be happy talk about good ideas -- it has to work in the real world," he added. "We need market accountability on cybersecurity that doesn't exist today."

In addition to promoting the CSRIC recommendations, the FCC will consider better ways to enable cyberthreat sharing among communications companies, Wheeler said. The agency will look at whether there are legal and practical barriers to information sharing, he said.

And the agency will explore ways to encourage new cybersecurity research and development, working with private companies, universities and the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST], he said.

Broadband provider Comcast, in a statement reacting to Wheeler's speech, said it already focuses heavily on cybersecurity.

"The success of our business depends upon providing customers with a safe and secure network environment," the statement said. "For that reason, Comcast and other communications providers view cybersecurity as a key component of our overall enterprise risk management. We have and will continue to be committed to taking a leadership role in establishing practices that meet the dynamic and ever-changing nature of these threats."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags regulationsecurityTom WheelercomcastAmerican Enterprise Institute for Public Policy ResearchU.S. Federal Communications Commissiongovernment

Featured

Slideshows

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honoured its top performing partners across the channel in Australia and New Zealand, recognising innovation and excellence on both sides of the Tasman. Revealed under the Vivid lights in Sydney, Intalock claimed the coveted Partner of the Year 2017 (Pacific) award, with Data#3 acknowledged for 12 months of strong growth across the market. Meanwhile, Datacom took home the New Zealand honours, with Global Storage and Insentra winning service provider and consulting awards respectively. Dicker Data was recognised as the standout distributor of the year, while Hitachi Data Systems claimed the alliance partner award. Photos by Bob Seary.

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners
Show Comments