Government // Leadership
News
9/8/2010
01:06 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Gov 2.0 Summit: NSA Chief Outlines Cybersecurity Plans

Teamwork, global leadership and respect for privacy are necessary as feds work to secure critical infrastructure, the National Security Agency's Gen. Keith Alexander said.




Slideshow: Next Generation Defense Technologies
(click for larger image and for full photo gallery)
Addressing challenges to the federal government's cybersecurity efforts, the head of the National Security Agency (NSA) said that teamwork, global leadership, and a respect for citizens' privacy are necessary to secure U.S. critical infrastructure against cyber attacks.

There are 250,000 probes trying to find their way into Department of Defense (DoD) networks every hour, and cyber attacks on federal agencies have increased 150% since 2008, Gen. Keith Alexander, NSA director and commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, said Tuesday at the Gov 2.0 Summit at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, produced by O'Reilly Media and UBM TechWeb.

The federal government has the potential to drastically reduce and prevent these attacks, but not unless the various agencies charged with cybersecurity tasks work together both at home and on a global scale.

"The United States has been a world leader in the development of technology and the growth of the internet," Alexander said. "We made the internet, it seems to me that we ought to be the folks to be the first to go out there and secure it. Given the intellectual capital required to do that, it stands to reason that if we pool our resources we can effectively safeguard all our nation's equities in cyberspace."

Government agencies have been criticized by the federal government's own watchdog agency, the General Accountability Office (GAO), for their lack of coordination when it comes to cybersecurity. In a report released in August, GAO said that because of the number of federal organizations involved in shaping cybersecurity policy and processes, the United States still is not presenting a united front to the world on the issue.

Multiple U.S. agencies -- including the NSA and the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State -- have a hand in directing international standards, cyber-defense policy, and facilitating overseas investigation and law enforcement when it comes to cybersecurity.

Until the U.S. presents a united front on all of these issues, it can't assume a leadership position globally, the GAO said.

Alexander also addressed privacy in regards to cybersecurity, another challenge to federal efforts and a major concern, particularly as the government partners with private companies that own most of the critical infrastructure that needs to be secured.

The NSA chief assured citizens that his obligation to protecting civil liberties and working with the law to secure cyberspace will "never" be compromised.

"Preserving those rights is not an added-on activity or something we do because we have to," Alexander said. "It is a core tenant the way we conduct our business all around, cyber included."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
InformationWeek surveyed 11,662 IT pros across 30 industries about their pay, benefits, job satisfaction, outsourcing, and more. Some of the results will surprise you.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and trends on InformationWeek.com
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.