As physical and cybersecurity threats converge to create multi-faceted challenges, organizations need to better plan for security and address all threat vectors, said Brian Harrell, assistant director for infrastructure security at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

Speaking at Auburn’s McCrary Institute today, Harrell said the increasing level of combined cyber-physical threats to public safety demand a stronger response to address their complex aspects.

“We can no longer live in these siloes – the cyber silo, the physical silo, the emergency management silo – it is a converged hybrid threat landscape today,” he said.

Harrell urged organizations to bring security under a single organization that should include chief information security officers and chief emergency management officers reporting to chief security officers.

“It’s no longer good enough to say, ‘we meet with cyber every other Tuesday.’ Everything is connected,” he emphasized.

Harrell also touched on the threat from Chinese drones – a danger that led CISA to issue an alert to the public in May.

“This is not the boogeyman. We have seen this with our own eyes – it is happening,” he stressed.

Harrell noted the need to work with state and local government partners, provide resources to industry, collect information on threats, and improve the front-line response to incidents.

“We really need to move towards collective defense – a bit a buzzword today, but what that really means is the Federal government, state and local partners, and the American citizen are all in this together.”

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