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Building a Defensible Cyberspace

NYCTF 2020

The Second iteration of the New York Cyber Task Force, initiated at the start of 2020, is working to build upon the accomplishments of the first task force by addressing how the US government and private sector can enact improvements for effective approaches to operational collaboration to protect the nation through joint operations and developing joint capabilities. The group, co-chaired by Phil Venables (Goldman Sachs), Greg Rattray (Next Peak), Evan Wolf (Crowell & Moring), and Merit Janow (Columbia University SIPA) is working to synthesize thought around operational collaboration and identify areas of complimentary synergies, by gathering and convening industry experts from the private sector, government, and academia.

The task force is working towards creating pragmatic approaches to collaboration through the development of scenarios in which adversaries plan on challenging the US in cyberspace. By identifying the drivers of these scenarios and the intentions of adversaries, the group can produce realistic areas where collaboration can occur to best defend the US in cyberspace. It is the task forces goal to identify these challenges, deduce the best ways that each sector can help each other through collaboration, and drive the conversation forward on how we can work together to ensure that the United States is safe in cyber space through revised complimentary policies on operational collaboration.

NYCTF 2017

On September 28, 2017, the New York Cyber Task Force released a series of recommendations that would help make it easier to defend cyberspace without sacrificing the utility, flexibility, and convenience that has made the Internet so essential to our economies and personal lives.

In its report, entitled “Building a Defensible Cyberspace,” the task force highlights strategies for government, cybersecurity companies, and other IT-dependent organizations.

Among other things the report finds that:

  • It is possible to establish a more defensible cyberspace—an Internet where defenders have the advantage over attackers.
  • Defending cyberspace will not require a “Cyber Manhattan Project.” Security professionals have developed effective strategies in the past, and with the right kind of innovations defenders will once again enjoy the advantage.
  • Improvements may come from unexpected places and rely on unglamorous strategies.
  • The best options use leverage—innovations across technology, operational, and policy that grant the greatest advantage to the defender over attackers at the least cost and greatest scale.

The New York Cyber Task Force included about 30 senior-level experts from New York City and elsewhere, counting among its members executives in finance and cybersecurity, former government officials, and leading academics. The group’s co-chairs are Phil Venables of Goldman Sachs, Greg Rattray of JP Morgan Chase, and Merit E. Janow, the dean of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, which organized the task force.

Other contributors included Katheryn Rosen of the Atlantic Council, Neal Pollard of PwC, Dmitri Alperovitch of Crowdstrike, Melody Hildebrandt of 21st Century Fox, David Lashway of Baker McKenzie, Elena Kvochko of Barclays, John Carlson of the FS-ISAC, Ed Amoroso of TAG Global (and former CSO of AT&T), and Columbia University scholars Steven M. Bellovin, Arthur M. Langer, and Matthew Waxman.

News release

Executive summary

Full report (e-reader version)