Saturday, July 17, 2010

NSA's 'Perfect Citizen' Will Watch for Cyberattacks

 Raytheon will lead the first phase of a National Security Agency program to detect cyberattacks on the nation's infrastructure. Called Perfect Citizen, the multimillion-dollar NSA program will reportedly install sensors in legacy computer networks. Despite reported cyberattacks, the NSA's effort has reportedly already been called Big Brother.
  With cyberattacks on key American institutions and businesses becoming more common, the National Security Agency (NSA) is launching a major program to detect assaults on the nation's infrastructure. The program, called Perfect Citizen, will focus in its first phase on the most obvious, biggest holes in security Relevant Products/Services in legacy systems.
   According to The Wall Street Journal, Perfect Citizen, funded by a multibillion-dollar federal effort called the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, will install sensors inside selected computer networks to look for unusual activity. At least initially, Perfect Citizen will focus on key parts of the country's infrastructure, and won't provide a sensing shield for all networks.

First Phase by Raytheon

 NSA, the super-secret U.S. monitoring agency, declined to comment on the report.

   The first phase will be conducted by Raytheon, which won a classified contract reportedly worth $100 million. The systems to be monitored include legacy systems that operate in subways, nuclear plants, air traffic control networks, and other complex and critical parts of the infrastructure.
   Many of these networks were not originally designed to work with Internet access, which was added later. Some companies may ask for direction on what to do rather than allow NSA to install sensors, as the agency cannot compel businesses to comply.
   In recent years, reports of organized cyberattacks on key elements of the U.S. government and business infrastructure have increased. American intelligence officials and others have said that many of the organized attacks appear to be coming from China, Russia and countries that were formerly in the Soviet empire.
Raytheon hasn't commented on the reported e-mail. An unnamed U.S. military official told the Journal that any privacy breach is no more than what is already tolerated by the public from traffic cameras.
   This is not the first time the U.S. has sought access to networks in order to help secure them. The NSA and other government agencies, for instance, have developed working relationships with utility and telecommunications companies. Perfect Citizen is the newest and largest incarnation of a smaller NSA initiative with the tasty code name of April Strawberry.
   The NSA has received heavy criticism, and attention from the press and some members of Congress, for previously monitoring huge swaths of U.S. telecommunications traffic to detect possible terrorist threats.

No comments:

Post a Comment