Two big developments in the arena of cyber security: First, the US and Britain issued a joint warning, and an unusually strong one at that, about Russia. Second, the White House is losing its well-regarded "cyber czar," along with his boss. On the first development, the New York Times reports that the US and Britain put out a "first-of-its-kind" warning that Russian operators have infiltrated government, corporate, and private computer systems, either to steal information or to lay the groundwork for future thefts or attacks. The idea is not only to warn systems operators to improve their defenses but to send a message to the Kremlin that cyber attacks will bring real consequences.
"When we see malicious cyberattacks, whether from the Kremlin or other nation-state actors, we are going to push back," says Rob Joyce, cybersecurity coordinator for the National Security Council, and that includes "all elements of US power." Which leads to the second development: Joyce himself is leaving his "cyber czar" position to return to the National Security Agency, reports the Washington Post. His departure comes after that of his boss, homeland security adviser Tom Bossert, who was widely seen as forced out by new national security adviser John Bolton. The departures leave "the administration without two trusted voices on one of the most important challenges the US faces going forward," writes Brian Barrett at Wired. (Read more cybersecurity stories.)