recommended reading

Hackers already are in your network. Now what?

“It is nearly impossible to keep the most sophisticated adversaries out of networks,” Shawn Henry said Monday.

“It is nearly impossible to keep the most sophisticated adversaries out of networks,” Shawn Henry said Monday. // Kristoffer Tripplaar

To Shawn Henry, there are only two types of organizations in the world: Those that know that their networks already have been breached, and those that don’t.

“It is nearly impossible to keep the most sophisticated adversaries out of networks,” said Henry, president of Crowdstrike Services and a former executive assistant director of the FBI dealing with cybersecurity issues.

Henry spoke Monday at Nextgov Prime, a Government Executive Media Group event on technology and the future of government.

Even a concerted effort to apply best practices in protecting networks -- such as firewalls, hard-to-crack passwords and dual factor authentication for access -- isn’t enough to stop advanced intruders, according to Henry. “If you build a 10-foot wall, they’ll bring a 12-foot ladder,” he said.

So what can government agencies do under this scenario? They should “be constantly hunting on the network,” Henry said, in an effort to “create a hostile environment for the adversary.” It’s not just about trying to prevent people from accessing your systems, but seeing if someone who has gained access is trying to extract or change information.

“There are a whole host of things to you can do internally to look for someone trying to get out,” he said.

Speaking at the same Nextgov Prime session, Alan R. Shark, executive director of the Public Technology Institute and an associate professor at Rutgers University, highlighted several beliefs users cling to in assuming they’re secure:

  • I don’t have anything anyone would ever want.
  • I have antivirus software installed.
  • I don’t use Windows.
  • My network has a great firewall.
  • I only visit safe sites.
  • My network administrator is in charge.
  • I’ve had the same password for years and nothing has ever happened.

Shark made the case for training for public employees on cybersecurity best practices. “If people sit back and think technology can save it all, it’s not going to happen,” he said.

Threatwatch Alert

Network intrusion / Stolen credentials

85M User Accounts Compromised from Video-sharing Site Dailymotion

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.