CIA director says on ‘cybersecurity is critical’ at the 2016 Cyber Georgia

(Photo: Kait Fruechting)
(Above) CIA director John Brennan spoke to students, faculty and guests at the 2016 Cyber Georgia on the major threats in cybersecurity and the measures put into to place to deal with the cybersecurity threats in the United States. CIA director John Brennan and Senator Saxby Chambliss (not pictured above) had a fireside chat and took questions from the crowd relating to areas of cybersecurity and Brennan’s experience in the CIA. (Photo: Kait Fruechting)

By Kait Fruechting | Contributor

The digital age creates a world of opportunity, innovation, and progress. However, risks are inevitable and accompany these rewards. The risks within the digital age are centered on cybersecurity.

Augusta has become a center for cyber following the opening of Cyber Institute at Augusta University, the Army’s Cyber Academy at Ft. Gordon and the overall growth of NSA Georgia.

CIA Director John Brennan recognized the progress Augusta is making and the direction in which the city is heading concerning cybersecurity. Director Brennan spoke at the 3rd Annual Cyber Georgia event on Oct. 13 at the Harrison Education Commons Building on Augusta University’s Health Science campus.
“Cyber Security is aptly described as our nation’s new and uncharted frontier,” said Brennan.

In order to reach and cross the new frontier, a stronger cooperation of information sharing must exist to educate and protect against cyber threats. With a more open system of information sharing within industry, academia and government, not only can potential threats be recognized but also gaps within security can be filled.

“Cyber security affects us all,” said Brennan. “It is really something that we all need to work on together.”

Cyber security affects everyone from the individual level to the private sector and within the government itself. Each level must take the initiative to educate and protect themselves from potential threats. Entities threatening cyber security from the outside or even within the public systems include nation states, hacktivists and script kiddies.

“Terrorism is not going anywhere,” said Brennan. “Everyone must understand the constant risks.”

In addition, to delivering the first keynote address, CIA Director Brennan sat with Senator Saxby Chambliss for a fireside chat concerning cybersecurity. Each reinforced his own stance and answered questions from the audience. While the director is not a fan of the television show “Homeland,” he expressed his passion for his job and his desire to continue.

Director Brennan warned against American’s willingness to share personal and financial information. He described how people are generally willing to give up such information but still is reluctant to government oversight and protection.

While he is not a fan of “Homeland” he may be a Rolling Stones fan. In order to protect ourselves we must give up some freedoms. So he may agree with Mick Jagger in that “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you get what you need.”

As it becomes ever clearer that cybersecurity is critical, should Americans be open to possible governmental oversight to protect from inevitable and constant risks?

Jamie Sapp contributed to the story. Contact Kait Fruechting at

Published on November 7, 2016 in Vol. 59, Issue 2 of The Bell Ringer newspaper.






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