Speaking today to the American Enterprise Institute, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler unveiled new plans in the cybersecurity arena, suggesting the commission will play a new role in fending off online threats. "We know there are threats to the communications networks upon which we all rely. We know those threats are growing," Wheeler told the audience. "People recognize that cybersecurity is a problem that must be addressed, but too few people are acting on this information."
Wheeler said the bulk of the action would still be taken by the private sector, but the commission would work to set tangible goals across the industry. As Wheeler put it, "we need to develop market accountability that doesn’t currently exist." As part of the effort, Wheeler is creating a new position of Chief Counsel for Cybersecurity, who will help lead a team to encourage best practices and risk assessments across the industry. The hope is that, with this new guidance, industries will be better positioned to avoid attacks like those that plagued Target and PF Chang's earlier this year. Wheeler also pointed out that, as more appliances begin connecting to the web, the possible damage from an attack will only multiply. "Cisco forecasts that by 2020, over 50 billion inanimate devices will be interconnected," Wheeler said. "Expressed another way, that’s 50 billion new attack vectors."