US says cybersecurity sharing not an antitrust issue

Apr 10, 2014
Deputy Attorney General James Cole in Washington, DC, on February 26, 2014

US officials announced Thursday that companies sharing information about cybersecurity would not face prosecution on antitrust grounds.

The news came amid heightened concerns about data breaches and malware that can foil online encryption to allow hackers to steal passwords or other personal data.

Officials at the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission said they issued formal guidance telling companies that there would be no from the sharing of technical information about cyber attacks, malware or similar threats.

"Some companies have told us that concerns about antitrust liability has been a barrier to being able to openly share cyber threat information with each other. We have heard them," Deputy Attorney General James Cole told reporters.

"And speaking on behalf of everyone here today, this guidance responds to those concerns, lets everyone know that antitrust concerns should not get in the way of sharing cybersecurity information, and signals our continued commitment to expanding the sharing of cybersecurity information."

FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez, who joined the announcement, noted that "the are not an impediment to the legitimate sharing of cybersecurity threat information among private businesses."

The news came amid concerns about malware circulating on the Internet called Heartbleed which could circumvent encryption and allow attackers to illicitly retrieve passwords and other bits of information from working memory on computer servers.

It also comes months after the revelation of a at US retailer Target which may have exposed of as many as 110 million consumers

Rand Beers, a White House homeland security aide, said the new policy would encourage companies to develop a common defense against attacks such as "phishing," which are emails whose origin is disguised in an effort to obtain login information.

"If companies are sharing information with each other, detection by one means that other companies can be prepared to face the same threat," Beers said.

Cole said the US administration still backs legislation on that would enable greater sharing of threat information between government and industry, and standards for reporting of incidents.

Explore further: US launches voluntary cybersecurity plan (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Obama threatens veto of cybersecurity bill

Apr 17, 2013

President Barack Obama threatened on Tuesday to veto a major cybersecurity bill unless Congress amends it to include more protections for privacy and civil liberties.

House OKs cybersecurity bill despite veto threat

Apr 27, 2012

The House ignored Obama administration objections Thursday and approved legislation aimed at helping stop electronic attacks on critical U.S. infrastructure and private companies.

US launches voluntary cybersecurity plan (Update)

Feb 12, 2014

The US administration on Wednesday launched a cybersecurity plan which aims to use voluntary collaboration from the private sector to protect critical infrastructure from computer hackers.

US bill seeks to improve cyber information-sharing

Nov 30, 2011

A bill intended to increase sharing of information about cybersecurity threats between government and the private sector was introduced in the US House of Representatives on Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Impoverished North Korea falls back on cyber weapons

3 hours ago

As one of the world's most impoverished powers, North Korea would struggle to match America's military or economic might, but appears to have settled on a relatively cheap method to torment its foe.

Five ways to make your email safer in case of a hack attack

4 hours ago

The Sony hack, the latest in a wave of company security breaches, exposed months of employee emails. Other hacks have given attackers access to sensitive information about a company and its customers, such as credit-card ...

US accuses North Korea of Sony hack (Update)

9 hours ago

The United States said Friday that North Korea was behind a cyber attack on Sony Pictures, warning that those responsible would face punishment, as an envoy for Pyongyang again denied involvement.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.