WASHINGTON — Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told a meeting of security and card executives Wednesday that he saw significantly more room for cooperation between public and private institutions working on data security.
Chertoff now is chairman of The Chertoff Group, a security analysis and consulting firm.
“Clearly data security is the primary concern of the people in this room, but we have come to understand that data security means securing more than just payments,” Chertoff told attendees at the Visa Global Security Summit.
Chertoff listed other significant data threats that have come to worry government, including the theft of intellectual property and disruptive attacks aimed at institutions or even whole nations, citing the attacks on Estonia from a few years ago.
He characterized the theft of intellectual property as having included “several Libraries of Congress worth of data.”
He told the meeting that both public and private sector authorities need to start thinking of security in different ways, moving away from the notion of building a “Maginot Line” of higher and higher firewalls to keep out intrusion.
Instead, he recommended beginning to think in terms of different networks with different levels of security for different purposes. Maybe the overall general Internet is not the best network on which to place financial transactions, he suggested. Maybe a network that connects researchers in different fields might require a different level of authentication.
He also suggested that each side, public and private, have unique skills and ability to bring to the effort. Government brings a worldwide perspective and prosecutions of violators. The private sector can bring greater abilities to analyze and mine data, Chertoff said.