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 7:26:43 PM
i believe this is true.
at the time, the CIA was primarily concerned with external threats, and the FBI with internal threats.
the intelligence failures are actually well-documented with regards to 9-11. simple heuristics could have provided the names of 3/4ths of the hijackers; just by cross-checking the names of 1 known suspect against:
it's even more telling that none of the hijackers were using aliases (or if they were, those alieses were not unknown to US intelligence).
9/2/2011 4:30:00 AM
You know, most agencies at Federal, State and city levels can't even communicate with each other via radio. PD and FD use completely different spectrum and the radios are not compatible with one another.
Communication from top-to-bottom in this country is ancient. Even with new equipment, all the red tape prohibits compatibility because of different unions, vendors, political reasons, privacy laws, etc.
In the end, all it really does is make it less safe for the general public.
9/2/2011 1:41:55 PM
I agree but when the NSA asks for those phone bills/records, people start crying about illegal wire tapping despite those phone records being available to numerous other sources (think third party) that the phone companies sell our information to.... I wish people would get their priorities straight - I don't care if gov't agencies have access to my bills, I DO care if DoubleClick (and others) has access.
"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
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
Chris Poole Retires From Role as 4Chan After a Decade of Success, Struggles
January 23, 2015, 1:45 PM
Study Shows People are Dumb as Ever With Passwords, Still Using "123456"
January 20, 2015, 3:19 PM
Site for "Glitter as a Service" Mail Pranks, ShipYourEnemiesGlitter, Launches
January 13, 2015, 2:22 PM
OS X Yosemite Compromises Security by Retrieving Embedded Email Images
January 13, 2015, 11:30 AM
ISIS JIhadi From NZ Accidentally Shares Location on Twitter, Outs Cohorts in Selfie
January 3, 2015, 11:35 PM
Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Drops to $299 (30 Percent Off) for a Day
December 22, 2014, 10:57 AM
Most Popular Articles
Microsoft Shows Off Latest Windows 10 Build, Preps it for Next Week Release
January 21, 2015, 2:57 PM
Under the Hood: How DirectX 11.3 and 12 Will Supercharge Windows 10 Gaming
January 23, 2015, 12:34 PM
IDC: 2014 Sales Show PC Isn't Dead, But Desktop May be Dying
January 19, 2015, 1:50 PM
Police are Using New Handheld Radar Sensors to Peer Into Houses w/out Warrant
January 20, 2015, 1:35 PM
Report: HTC One M9 (2015) is Tied to Under Armour-Powered HTC Smartwatch
January 19, 2015, 11:10 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information