Governments are multifaceted stakeholders in regards to cybersecurity vulnerabilities and their disclosure. While they have always had a role as owners and operators of vulnerable networks and systems, issues surrounding vulnerability discovery, coordination, disclosure, and mitigation have become increasingly important to governments worldwide.
As the industries they regulate move toward increasing connectivity, agencies with oversight responsibilities will likely see an increased demand to extend their safety monitoring to include security issues (especially for security issues that directly impact safety). To that end, changes are happening rapidly on multiple fronts. For example, in the United States recent developments include the following: The FDA Medical Device Reporting process enables oversight and detection of potential device-related safety issues . The National Highway Transportation and Safety Commission (NHTSA) collects reports of vehicle safety issues, which helps to drive its investigation and recall processes . The FAA offers a number of safety reporting capabilities as well .
Beyond just documenting observed issues, some government agencies take an active learning approach when broader engineering failures occur. The aforementioned FDA and NHTSA reporting programs serve this purpose, but other programs exist as well. For example, the National Transportation Safety Board is explicitly tasked with investigating transportation accidents, and NASA collects lessons learned in a public database . This kind of continuous improvement process has demonstrated its effectiveness in a variety of environments and seems to provide a good model for cybersecurity vulnerabilities in both the private and public sectors.
The United States is not alone in realizing that vulnerability discovery, disclosure, and remediation is important to national interests. These cybersecurity issues have been global for quite some time. The EU Parliament recently held hearings on modernizing export controls and the trade in zero-day vulnerabilities . Meanwhile, a quick glance at the vulnerability database catalog being developed by the FIRST gives a good indication of the international interest in this problem space .
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- U.S. Food & Drug Administration, "Medical Device Reporting (MDR)," [Online]. Available: https://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/safety/reportaproblem/. [Accessed 23 May 2017].
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "File a Vehicle Safety Complaint," [Online]. Available: https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/. [Accessed 23 May 2017].
- Federal Aviation Administration, "Report Safety Issues," [Online]. Available: https://www.faa.gov/aircraft/safety/report/. [Accessed 23 May 2017].
- NASA Office of the Chief Engineer, "NASA Lessons Learned," NASA Lessons Learned Steering Committee (LLSC), [Online]. Available: https://www.nasa.gov/offices/oce/functions/lessons/index.html. [Accessed 16 May 2017].
- European Commission, "Dual Use Controls: Commission proposes to modernise and strengthen controls on exports of dual-use items," 28 September 2016. [Online]. Available: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-3190_en.htm. [Accessed 23 May 2017].
- FIRST, "Vulnerability Database Catalog," FIRST VRDX SIG, 17 March 2016. [Online]. Available: https://www.first.org/global/sigs/vrdx/vdb-catalog. [Accessed 16 May 2017].