Cyber Intelligence

Bryan Hurd, Vice President, Chief of Office, Aon Cyber Solutions (Stroz Friedberg) joined Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss the current state of cybersecurity and why cyber intelligence is critically important for Governments and Publicly Traded Companies.

The conversation begins with Bryan discussing the founding of the U.S. Navy’s First Cyber-Counterintelligence Program at Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Expanding upon the founding of the program, Bryan goes onto discuss Cliff Stoll, “Hanover hackers” and nation-state cyber attacks.

Then there is the emerging threat of the non-nation state of hackers which are having an impact on society.

Popular culture makes it cool to be a hacker.

– Bryan Hurd

Grayson asks Bryan what assets hackers are looking to steal and compromise. International organized crime is focused on ransomware and IP Theft, while nation-state hackers are focused on gathering intel and plans on how the military develops planes and sensitive military assets.

The dwell times for these bad actors vary depending on the sophistication of the organization and what they are looking to achieve. At times international organized crime will gather all of the data they want, then lock the data and demand a ransom that is paid in crypto coin.

Ransomware is a clear and present danger to the United States.

– Bryan Hurd

With ransom being paid in crypto coin, Grayson and Bryan go onto discuss the potential regulation of Bitcoin and the impact it would have on the market if a “know your customer” regulation would be put into place. Shifting the conversation to transportation, Bryan discusses the founding of the No Fly List and how it was developed using machine learning.

As society beings to shift towards electric vehicles, Grayson asks Bryan why there is not a larger conversation taking place on how you secure the energy grid from a potential cyber attack. Securing the energy grid is critically important as millions of consumers begin to drive charge their electric vehicles.

Securing intellectual property (IP) for large knowledge-based companies is also critical as the valuations of those companies are partly based on their IP portfolios. Using the Waymo vs. Uber lawsuit as an example, Grayson brings up Exhibit 22 from the trial as an example of why cyber intelligence and on-the-ground intelligence is critically important for companies developing new technologies.

If your entire company’s net worth is based on intellectual property (IP), a formula for a soft drink, a vaccine formulation, or intellectual property on how to make the next driverless automobile, then that is information that needs to be protected from an IT and tagging/data loss prevention and employee contracts for the level that is appropriate to your company.

– Bryan Hurd

This raises the question of how connected should the Board of Directors be to the industry of the company of the board that they are sitting on?

Just the right bit of intel at the right time can either save you billions in research and development or get you there faster than the people who actually founded it.

– Bryan Hurd

Looking at the current state of the world and events shaping the global economy, Grayson asks if bad actors are looking at the economic and supply-chain damage that the Ever Given container ship caused when it blocked the Suez Canal as an idea for a possible cyber attack. What if cyber terrorists could take control of container ships to cause economic harm globally?

Bryan talks about the current state of cyber terrorism, what bad actors are targeting and what the response could look like in the future. As society becomes more and more connected, it will be inherently important for companies to build trust around their products and services.

Trust is not only to the brand. It is to the uptick of any new technology or service. Spending a little bit more at the beginning to ensure that trust has a good foundation is going to be a more central discussion.

– Bryan Hurd

Wrapping up the conversation, Bryan discusses what we can do as a society to stay pro-active and why cyber intelligence will continue to be top of mind for Government, companies and individuals.

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Recorded on Tuesday April 6, 2021.