General Keith Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Chief of the Central Security Service (CSS), and Commander of the United States Cyber Command came on stage, out of his military uniform. Instead he wore a DEFCON Kids shirt, voicing his support at multiple points during talk for the DEFCON effort that trains children in the hacker arts.
Alexander noted that he came to DEFCON to meet people — such as representatives from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
“We can protect the network, have civil liberties and privacy — and you can help us get there,” Alexander told the capacity audience. “We can do both and we need to do both.”
Alexander noted that there are tremendous vulnerabilities that need to be addressed on the internet today. Many big-name companies are being hacked and he noted that it is likely that there are 100 times more companies that are hacked that aren’t aware they have been breached.
The general also noted that he is worried that cyber attacks could have a physical impact, and to that end he stressed that it is a shared responsibility to secure the Internet.
“This is all about our future, we can’t sit on the sidelines or let others that don’t understand this space tell us what to do,” Alexander said. “That’s why I came here, to solicit your help.”