Federal Agencies Agree to Work Harmoniously for Cyber Security
September 1, 2011 4:44 PM
comment(s) - last by
Confusion over who to call during a cyber attack remains a frustration for federal bureaucracies
The Department of Defense (DOD), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) all compete for cyber security primacy
Cyber security has become an increasingly important issue in recent years due to the number of attacks launched against corporations and governments around the world. For instance, hacker groups
as well as others have broken into several corporate websites/records such as
, Fox and
. Government websites such as those for the
and top U.S. government information technology services provider
were hacked as well.
Dealing with cyber attacks is difficult for government security agencies because it's hard to tell if it's an act of war or just smaller-scale criminal acts. An even larger problem in dealing with cyber attacks is determining who to call when one occurs. For instance, a cyber attack on a Department of Defense network might seem like an obvious job for the military, but if the attack occurred within the U.S., it would be categorized in criminal statutes.
The September 11 terrorist attacks shed some light on the fact that federal agencies don't always work well with one another (and haven't for decades), and that some fight over who should be called first in the case of such an attack. For instance, during the September 11 terrorist attacks, the CIA, FBI and law enforcement officers were criticized for not working with one another when the CIA knew the approximate location of the attackers but did not tell the FBI.
There are four different federal agencies that deal with cyber security, including the Department of Defense (DOD), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The NSA and DHS are
competitive over primacy
in cyber security, where the NSA has asked for the lead role in this particular area in the past. But the NSA has a bit of a shady past with issues like its warrantless wiretapping program that was discovered in 2005. There are debates as to whether the NSA should play a lead role in certain situations, but the Obama administration noted that it recognizes DHS as the leader in cyber security.
Despite who the leader in
is, these federal agencies are supposed to coordinate their efforts through Howard Schmidt, the president's cyber security coordinator since 2009. While Schmidt doesn't have the budget or staff he would like, his role in keeping the agencies on the same page helps keep some order. He also recognizes (and helped the agencies recognize) that each agency has its own area of expertise, and would know who to call in certain situations.
There are some circumstances, however, where disorganization is preferred. According to Travis Sharp, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington D.C., an "overarching" agency could be troublesome in some cases. But overall, a cyber security coordinator acting as a "clearinghouse" for these agencies is the better approach.
While feuds and debates have caused tension within the federal bureaucracies for years, James Lewis, a director and senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, noted that the different agencies have become much better at coordinating and sharing information with one another over the last three years. NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander agreed.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
9/1/2011 5:42:30 PM
I actually trust the NSA more than DHS since Obama entered office. The NSA didn't release documents saying that people like myself are potential domestic terrorists.
"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
Global Cyber Security Push is Underway
July 6, 2011, 7:28 AM
LulzSec Downs CIA's Public Site, Appears to be Subject of Framing Attempt
June 15, 2011, 7:20 PM
Gmail Accounts Hacked; Google Suspects Chinese Involvement
June 2, 2011, 11:04 AM
Reports: Hackers Use Stolen RSA Information to Hack Lockheed Martin
May 30, 2011, 10:14 AM
Sony to PS3, PSP Owners: Your Credit Card Info May Have Been Stolen, Good Luck!
April 26, 2011, 4:55 PM
Facebook CEO Called President Barack Obama to Complain About NSA Spying
March 14, 2014, 1:40 PM
Quick Note: Google Drive 100GB, 1TB Plans See Major Price Cuts
March 13, 2014, 2:45 PM
Target Missed Early Warning Signs of Holiday Data Breach
March 13, 2014, 1:45 PM
Amazon Increases Prime Subscription to $99/year Starting March 19
March 13, 2014, 8:23 AM
Bitcoin King's American Accounts Get Frozen
March 13, 2014, 3:00 AM
Time Warner Cable CEO Says Merger with Comcast is a "Dream Combination", Will Increase Innovation
March 12, 2014, 2:37 PM
Most Popular Articles
Bitcoin King Pt. II: Mt. Gox's Dictator Karpelès Proves Tragically Flawed
March 7, 2014, 1:12 PM
Hack Reveals Fallen Bitcoin CEO's Posh Tokyo Penthouse
March 10, 2014, 4:28 PM
Tesla Motors Calls New Jersey Out on New Rule Against Its Direct Sales Model
March 11, 2014, 12:01 PM
NASA Considering SpaceX "Red Dragon" for Returning Mars Samples to Earth
March 10, 2014, 2:43 PM
India Could Rock Google With Its Biggest Antitrust Fine Yet -- $5B USD
March 10, 2014, 8:12 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
Is The Period Becoming an Expression of Anger?
Nov 26, 2013, 2:02 PM
NSA and Congress -- You Will Never Kill the Constitution, It's an Idea
Nov 10, 2013, 2:00 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information