On November 14-15, 2017, NVTC hosted the second annual Capital Cybersecurity Summit at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. With over 350 attendees, the Summit highlighted the Greater Washington region’s unmatched set of cybersecurity assets. The Summit featured keynote remarks by Howard Marshall, Deputy Assistant Director, Cyber Intelligence, Outreach and Support Branch at the FBI, and Grant Schneider, Acting Federal Chief Information Security Officer and Senior Director for Cybersecurity Policy at the National Security Council. Engaging panel sessions were led by cybersecurity experts from the public, private and academic sectors, and the Summit’s exhibit hall showcased cybersecurity innovators and companies supporting the region’s cybersecurity industry.

Click here for a full recap of the event.

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View the full gallery here and stayed tuned on the blog for more Capital Health Tech Summit content, video and photos!

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Gartner predicts there will be an estimated 8.4 billion IoT devices by 2020. Tenable President, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder Jack Huffard discusses how the proliferation of digital assets and connected devices are creating an exposure gap in cyber defenseand shares how organizations can fight back against cyber-attacks. Huffard participated on the Successful Cybersecurity Growth Companies In the Region panel at the Capital Cybersecurity Summit on Nov. 15, 2017.


jack-huffard-2015-2-webIt’s been more than two years since the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) disclosed one of the largest data breaches in history, but just last week, the agency’s inspector general gave them a failing grade when it comes to critical areas like risk management and contingency planning.

In addition, the data breaches and attacks we’ve recently seen across a variety of industries, including entertainment, critical infrastructure, retail and finance, make it clear that all organizations are still failing when it comes to basic cyber hygiene.

Today, a company’s assets range not just from laptops to servers, but include mobile devices, internet-connected appliances and the cloud. The latest research shows the number of these assets are only going to increase. For example, Gartner predicts there will be an estimated 8.4 billion IoT devices by 2020. And according to a 2016 IDG Enterprise Cloud Computing Survey, 70 percent of organizations already have apps in the cloud and 16 percent more will in 12 months. This modern, elastic attack surface, where the assets themselves and their associated vulnerabilities are constantly expanding, contracting and evolving, has created a massive gap in organizations’ ability to truly understand their cyber exposure at any given time.

Another major component of today’s elastic attack surface is operational technology (OT), particularly given the growth in the risk of cyber-attacks against critical infrastructure sectors. A recent Ponemon Institute study on the state of cybersecurity in the U.S. oil and gas industry found, for example, that OT targets now comprise 30 percent of all cyberattacks. Like cloud and IoT assets, the cyber exposure gap is exacerbated by the mismatch of cyber measures deployed by critical infrastructure companies and the rapid pace of digitization in operations. Operational technologies present an additional challenge – they often can’t be assessed with the same approaches as IT assets, creating blind spots for security operations and compliance teams.

We recently announced a partnership with global engineering and technology leader Siemens that aims to address those unique risks. The product, Industrial Security from Tenable, was designed specifically for industrial control systems and will be delivered through Siemens to give energy and utilities companies full visibility into production networks to reduce compliance risk and their cyber exposure.

Both public and private organizations in every sector need to change their approach to cyber risk to effectively manage their cyber exposure. That starts with understanding and protecting what matters most across their entire attack surface. And it means looking at server and endpoint hardening, IoT discovery and hardening, container and web app vulnerability identification and OT asset and vulnerability detection.

Understanding risk and cyber exposure is also an awareness issue that should start at the top. If the C-suite and board of directors know which areas of their business are secure or exposed, that knowledge can drive strategic business decisions, including where and how much to invest to reduce risk. Attackers will always find the weak link, and right now there are too many weak links – even more than companies are aware of.

This year alone, there were several high-profile, large-scale cyber-attacks, including the NotPetya destructionware, CrashOverride/Industroyer threats to critical infrastructure, and the Reaper IoT botnet. No organization wants to experience one of these security headlines firsthand, which claimed millions of dollars in company damage and compromised sensitive customer data. Only with a holistic approach that starts with basic cyber hygiene – visibility to identify all assets and their vulnerabilities – can companies secure today’s complex attack surface.

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Dominion Energy Power Delivery Group Vice-President of Technical Solutions Kevin Curtis shares an inside look into the efforts underway to modernize the smart energy grid in Virginia.


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Dominion Energy Power Delivery Group Vice-President of Technical Solutions Kevin Curtis

To find one of the fastest-growing economic engines for the Commonwealth, one needs simply look to the heavens. The ability to unlock the potential of the sun’s energy is powering a boom in clean energy jobs in Virginia and supporting our high-tech economy. Along with this solar expansion comes new challenges for the power grid and new opportunities for power companies to meet 21st century consumer expectations.

In just the past month, Facebook and Microsoft provided examples of how solar power is soaring to new heights in Virginia and powering critical business resources. Facebook announced a $1 billion investment in a data center outside of Richmond, which will include a $250 million future investment by Dominion Energy in renewables in the state. Soon after, Microsoft helped commission the 20-megawatt Remington Solar Facility in Fauquier County with Dominion Energy as part of its own commitment to renewable energy.

“The criticality of energy to all of this is a phenomenal concept that we all have to get our heads around,” said Secretary of Technology Karen R. Jackson during a recent webinar hosted by the Northern Virginia Technology Council. “The more we push onto the grid, the more demand there is for quality, reliable power.”

That demand is being felt by us at Dominion Energy. I explained on the webinar that solar expansion has occurred faster than we anticipated. The current power grid wasn’t designed for the variability of solar generation and is being stretched by the proliferation of renewables. Power companies are expected to integrate them seamlessly and to do so while maintaining reliability and keeping costs competitive.

Infrastructure improvements are also needed to help harden critical facilities and protect the grid from escalating cyber and physical threats. Secretary Jackson points to several critical government and private sector customers served by Dominion Energy as an example of the role energy company’s play in ensuring public safety.

The key to addressing these evolving challenges is a modern energy grid, which Dominion Energy sees as essential to a stronger, smarter and cleaner energy future. The company is engaged right now in planning a Grid Modernization initiative to adapt to the solar and security challenges, as well as to be better positioned to meet customers’ rising expectations. Residents and businesses expect power that is always on, helpful information on their energy usage and more control over their power bill. Deploying new technology and hardening our system against power outages can satisfy all these needs, if properly executed.

We value all our customers at Dominion Energy and the Grid Modernization initiative is intended to benefit customers of all types. It is a shining opportunity on our horizon to transform our Commonwealth, our energy future and our economy. It provides Dominion Energy a way to improve on its record of safe, reliable, cost-effective power service. It enables the company to meet the demands for more renewable energy and a reduced carbon footprint. And it can continue to fuel clean energy jobs to provide continued growth to Virginia’s high-tech economy.

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NVTC’s newest guest blog post from Exostar explains why new government regulations are giving organizations a fresh concern when it comes to cybersecurity. Exostar’s Senior Vice President of Product Development Vijay Takanti will be part of the panel discussion, NIST 800-171: Is the Government Paving the Way for Commercial Security? at the 2017 Capital Cybersecurity Summit November 14-15.


exostar v2Cybercrime is on the rise, and could cost businesses over $2 trillion by 2019. These losses could be the result of outright theft, lost productivity, impact to customer confidence or costs associated with repairing breaches. But a new, equally ominous risk associated with cybersecurity is emerging for both government contractors and downstream commercial businesses—the risk of losing current and future contracts due to non-compliance with new government standards.

Department of Defense contracts now include a clause, DFARS 252.204-7012, “Safeguarding Covered Defense Information and Cyber Incident Reporting.” The new clause requires contractors (and their extended supply chains) to implement NIST SP 800-171 cyber safeguards by December 31, 2017 – or at least have a coherent plan for doing so.

NIST SP 800-171 is a set of 110 security controls regulating the handling of sensitive (but not classified) data. Most organizations in the aerospace and defense industry are well aware of these standards and their application to the DFARS mandate by now. However, other organizations, who don’t work directly with the government, may get pulled into NIST 800-171 compliance because of the global, multi-tiered nature of prime contractors’ supply chains.

Keep in mind that the supply chain on any given project can include hundreds or even thousands of suppliers who are privy to controlled defense information (CDI). As the volume of suppliers and the information they exchange rises, the more vulnerable they are to cyber-attack and CDI compromise. Even small pieces of information need to be protected at all times.

The NIST 800-171 rules are designed to best protect this sensitive information as it moves across every level of the supply chain. If even one link in the chain is insecure, it could spell trouble for all parties participating on a government program. Officially, the government can start including NIST 800-171 compliance as a requirement for contracts once the rules are in effect. If organizations are not compliant, they will not be able to bid on those contracts, and existing contracts could be in jeopardy.

Organizations that are not compliant with these new cybersecurity controls run the risk of losing out on business, as primes and larger suppliers select preferred vendors who can demonstrate proper cybersecurity hygiene.

The deadline is looming. Mitigate the latest cybersecurity risk by understanding and implementing the NIST 800-171 security controls now, or find a qualified partner to help you do so.

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