Feeds

US spy boss pushes for unified cyber-command center

Partnership to protect civilian networks

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The US military wants to create a unified digital command center in Maryland as part of a push to reorganize its offensive and defensive cyber operations.

The center would be located at the Army's Fort Meade and would be a sub-unit of the US Strategic Command, Lieutenant General Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, told a House Armed Services subcommittee on Tuesday. Its mission would be to protect the US military computers by blending offensive and defensive capabilities of the Pentagon and the NSA.

The ultra-secretive NSA has come under fire over the past few weeks for comments by the Obama administration's top intelligence official that the agency should become the lead agency in protecting the country's power grids and other critical infrastructure.

Alexander has since taken pains to assure critics that his agency doesn't want to run or operate civilian networks. On Tuesday, he renewed those efforts, saying the NSA wanted only to use its expertise to provide technical support to the Department of Homeland Security.

"So if we develop something we're going to use for the Defense Department, it makes no sense for [DHS] to develop the same thing," he told The Washington Post.

Perhaps, but as the article goes on to explain, such a partnership would be fraught with ethical and national security questions. What, for instance, should the NSA do if it discovers particularly malicious code in the wild? Sharing it with private industry would help protect US infrastructure, but it could also strengthen the hands of adversaries.

Alexander's larger point remains well taken: Cyber security training in the US forces is inadequate and needs to be improved. His comments come as the White House prepares to release results of a 60-day review of cybersecurity recommendations made to the Obama administration. Additional coverage of Alexander's remarks are here and here. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.