Gen. Paul Nakasone, Chief of U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, raised influence operations and ransomware as national security threats that require U.S. government attention. Speaking at the 2021 Mandiant Cyber Defense Summit, Gen. Nakasone highlighted the increasing use of social media accounts by nation-states and the role of deepfakes in disinformation efforts among his national security priorities. Breaking Defense reported on Nakasone’s remarks October 6, 2021 in “Nakasone Now Sees Ransomware, Influence Ops as ‘National Security’ Threats.”
As noted in the Breaking Defense article, Nakasone’s comments follow cyber firm Mandiant’s release of research in September showing a global Chinese influence operation leveraging hundreds of inauthentic social media accounts intended to spark protests in the United States over the COVID-19 pandemic. Mandiant’s chief executive also has emphasized the need for coordinated national and global response to cyber threats.