As the developing world follows in the steps of the West and begins entering an age of saturated connectivity, it's important for people in leadership positions to set the tone for a culture of cybersecurity, said former chief security officer for the Department of Defense Jonathan Reiber on Thursday.

And considering the United States has a decades-long head start in handling such an evolution, said Reiber, it's now incumbent upon the U.S. to loan its expertise.

"If you learn something, it's on you to share it," he said.

Reiber, now senior director for cyber strategy at AttackIQ, made his comments during a keynote address at the RiskSec Digital conference Thursday.

"These countries that are less accustomed to digital risk and less accustomed to managing technology, or where the rule of law is still developing in certain ways, they're going to confront the kinds of problems that the United States and other countries had in the past," Reiber said. "And they're going to deal with a whole host of other issues associated with digitalization."

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Many of the lessons the U.S. learned about cybersecurity during his time in public service apply not only to countries that are moving toward internet ecosystems that mirror those of the West, but emerging companies as well.

For example, a key priority of the Obama administration was to catalogue infrastructure that posed cyber risks and shift resources based on risk. When he spoke to leaders in developing countries, they frequently have not made such assessments. And, in companies that haven't properly addressed risk, they may treat the most vital files the same as the least.