The Shield: NSA Allies With Internet Carriers to Thwart Cyber Attacks Against Defense Firms

The Shield: NSA Allies With Internet Carriers to Thwart Cyber Attacks Against Defense Firms
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“The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and Internet service providers (ISPs) are collaborating to foil cyberattacks against U.S. defense firms by deploying a new generation of tools to monitor digital traffic. The effort depends on sophisticated NSA data sets to recognize malware inserted into the flow of Internet data feeding to defense contractors.

The program was initiated in May on a voluntary, trial basis, and deputy defense secretary William J. Lynn III says the pilot “could serve as a model that can be transported to other critical infrastructure sectors, under the leadership of the Department of Homeland Security.” The Center for Democracy & Technology’s James X. Dempsey says that restricting NSA’s role to sharing data is an elegant solution to the challenge of tapping the agency’s expertise while avoiding domestic government surveillance.

The pilot does not entail direct government monitoring of the contractors’ networks, according to officials. The program employs NSA-developed malware signatures and sequences of suspicious network behavior to screen the Internet traffic streaming to major defense firms, permitting ISPs to disable the threats before an attack can breach a contractor’s servers. NSA technology can only screen for known threats, and the program does not defend against insider threats or hackers who have compromised security software.”

Source: The Washington Post via ACM Technews – http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/major-internet-service-providers-cooperating-with-nsa-on-monitoring-traffic/2011/06/07/AG2dukXH_story.html

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