Feeds

US spy agency gains support for cyber security role

DHS not up to task, Congress told

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The United States' top intelligence official argued last week that the National Security Agency should become the nation's cyber defender, adding his voice to the growing murmur of support for the agency's future role in cyberspace.

In comments before the US House of Representatives' intelligence committee on Wednesday, the Obama administration's Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, stated that the current lead agency on cybersecurity, the US Department of Homeland Security, has not stepped up to the plate, while the NSA "has the greatest repository of cyber talent." Blair acknowledged that the NSA has to gain the trust of the American people and show that they can be held accountable, but that the capabilities of the agency make them best suited to the role of protecting US networks against cyber attacks.

"I think that (the NSA's) capability should be harnessed and built on as we're trying to protect more than just our intelligence networks or our military networks as we expand to our federal networks and to our critical infrastructure networks," Blair said, according to transcript (pdf) of the remarks. "And, the reason is that, because of the offensive mission that they have, they're the ones who know best about what's coming back at us and it's defenses against those sorts of things that we need to be able to build into wider and wider circles."

Blair's comments are not the first time that the National Security Agency has been suggested as a logical lead for the nation's cybersecurity defense efforts. Paul Kurtz, a consultant and advisor to the Obama administration's transition team, also recommended that the NSA take on a greater role in securing cyberspace in comments at a recent security conference. However, the NSA has suffered a public black eye for allegedly collecting data on and tapping the communications of US citizens in the name of fighting terrorism.

In his comments, Blair — the nation's third Director of National Intelligence — argued that the agency and Congress have to work to improve the NSA's reputation and underscored the increasing importance of cybersecurity.

"Our information infrastructure is becoming both indispensable to the functioning of our society and vulnerable to catastrophic disruption in a way that they previous, analog, decentralized systems were not," he said. "Cyber-systems are being targeted for exploitation, and potentially for disruption or destruction, by a growing array of both non-state and state adversaries."

The lion's share of Blair's comments focused on the intelligence communities role in the fight against terrorism, nuclear non-proliferation and unrest caused by current economic conditions.

This article originally appeared in SecurityFocus.

Copyright © 2009, SecurityFocus

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.