Cybersecurity Legislation Should Force U.S. Government To Listen Less And Speak More: The Atlantic

On March 15th, 2012, Jason Healey wrote for The Atlantic on the NSA's role in defending the private sector against cyberattacks.  Noting that the private sector is on the front lines of a cyberwar, Healey believes that the private sector "needs the capabilities of the US government" in order to defend itself against Chinese backed cyberespionage.  Moreover, the NSA clearly has the most cyber-expertise in the US government, so it would be best suited to helping the private sector.  In this vein, the NSA had envisioned an arrangment where it would monitor the computer networks of critical infrastructure providers. 

However, the Obama administration denied the NSA's push for private sector monitoring.  According to Healey, this denial, in conjunction with the NSA's black eye over warrantless intercepts, makes NSA monitoring of private networks unlikely.

Even so, Healy suggested that the NSA could still help the private sector by giving up its "crown jewels": its "classified database of 'signatures' of malicious software."  Malware signatures are an identifier; they allow cybersecurity defenses to flag incoming cyberattacks and stop them.  The private sector could make use of the signatures to better defend against cyberattacks.

Granted, the NSA might be concerned about compromising its collection sources.  However, the article noted that "most of these signatures protect little but bureaucratic inertia", and quoted Gen. Michael Hayden as saying "This stuff is overprotected."

Healey went on to propose a number of ways the NSA could share the signatures.  Check out The Atlantic article for more.


While we're here…

James Bamford wrote a fascinating article for Wired on the NSA's new spy palace, the country's "biggest spy center."

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One Response to “Cybersecurity Legislation Should Force U.S. Government To Listen Less And Speak More: The Atlantic”

  1. Park says:

    The idea that a closer relationship between government and industry will help improve cyber security is absurd. Slap on a name like NSA and everyone things they are dealing with geniuses. I have spent years in this field solving real world security problems and doing research in vulnerabilities. In my opinion, the best way to address these issues, particularly in SCADA systems, is not to write laws inserting the government into the private supply chain. A more effective solution is to make senior executives in SCADA systems personally accountable for damage to people and private property that results from their failure to apply best practices in security.

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. She is the 2018-9 Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, as well as a member of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

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Anna Maria Castillo

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Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

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is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography


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