Some unresolved questions that policymakers must consider in exploring a role for the military in countering ransomware.
Lauren Zabierek is the Executive Director of the Cyber Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. She comes to this role as a 2019 graduate of the Kennedy School's mid-career MPA program. Lauren served as an intelligence officer in the United States Air Force at the beginning of her career. Later, as a civilian intelligence analyst with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) assigned to the Office of Counterterrorism, she completed three war zone deployments. Throughout her six years at NGA, she became a subject matter expert on Activity Based Intelligence (ABI) and served as an adjunct professor in ABI at the NGA college. After leaving NGA, she joined the cybersecurity threat intelligence startup Recorded Future, and was instrumental in building its Public Sector business practice. In her role as a Senior Intelligence Analyst, she fused intelligence methodologies with cybersecurity and machine learning technologies to help public and private sector customers improve their cyber posture. She also managed a team of analysts and worked alongside the Product Management and Training teams to improve her customers' experience with the software. A Gold Star Sister, Lauren is committed to supporting families of the fallen and has volunteered several times as a mentor with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). She also co-founded the Recorded Future Women's Mentorship Initiative, helped to start a women's initiative at NGA, is a member of the NatSecGirlSquad, and is the co-founder of the online social media movement called #ShareTheMicInCyber, which aims to dismantle racism in cybersecurity and privacy.
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Recent ransomware attacks against the United States are raising questions about whether and how the military, specifically U.S. Cyber Command, might counter this type of malicious cyber activity. Here, we provide a road map for policymakers to help guide their decision-making on this critical policy challenge.