US program to detect cyberattacks on companies, agencies

Jul 08, 2010
People attend a conference on cyber security. The United States is launching a program to detect cyberattacks on private US companies and government agencies running critical infrastructure such as the electricity grid and nuclear power plants, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The United States is launching a program to detect cyberattacks on private US companies and government agencies running critical infrastructure such as the electricity grid and nuclear power plants, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The newspaper, citing "people familiar with the program," known as "Perfect Citizen," said the surveillance would be carried out by the (NSA), the super secret US electronic monitoring agency.

It would rely on sensors deployed in computer networks for that would be triggered by unusual activity suggesting an impending , the Journal said.

The newspaper said major US defense contractor Raytheon Corp. recently won a classified contract for the initial phase of the surveillance effort valued at up to 100 million dollars.

A US military official told the newspaper the program was "long overdue" and would not constitute a violation of privacy.

The Journal noted that US intelligence officials have grown increasingly concerned about suspected Chinese and Russian surveillance of computer systems that control the and other US infrastructure.

It said "Perfect Citizen" would concentrate on typically older computer control systems that have since been linked to the Internet, making them more efficient but also more vulnerable to cyberattack.

"Because the program is still in the early stages, much remains to be worked out, such as which computer control systems will be monitored and how the data will be collected," the Journal said.

It said the NSA would "likely start with the systems that have the most important security implications if attacked, such as electric, nuclear, and air-traffic-control systems."

NSA chief General Keith Alexander has been named to head the newly created US Cyber Command.

In a recent speech, he said the role of US Cyber Command is to "deter, detect and defend against emerging threats against our nation in cyberspace."

Alexander also said effective cybersecurity would involve partnering with the private sector and others.

"All of us in government recognize that we cannot do this without the help of industry, academia and our allies," he said. "Securing cyberspace is a team sport.

"Securing our networks is not just a (military) issue, it is a national security issue with implications for all instruments of national power," he said.

Explore further: Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cyber Command chief warns of 'remote sabotage'

Jun 03, 2010

The top US cyberwarrior said Thursday that Pentagon networks are probed over six million times a day and expressed concern about a rise in "remote sabotage" attacks on computer systems.

US wants privacy in new cyber security system

Jul 03, 2009

(AP) -- The Obama administration is moving cautiously on a new pilot program that would both detect and stop cyber attacks against government computers, while trying to ensure citizen privacy protections.

US adviser says cybersecurity must be joint effort

Apr 23, 2009

(AP) -- The challenge of protecting the government's computer networks is too big for any one agency to handle alone, a top adviser to President Barack Obama said Wednesday. That suggests the administration doesn't intend ...

US senators call for cybersecurity czar

Apr 01, 2009

Two US senators introduced legislation on Wednesday aimed at creating a powerful national cybersecurity advisor who would report directly to the president.

Recommended for you

Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

Aug 26, 2014

People on Facebook and Twitter say they are less likely to share their opinions on hot-button issues, even when they are offline, according to a surprising new survey by the Pew Research Center.

US warns shops to watch for customer data hacking

Aug 23, 2014

The US Department of Homeland Security on Friday warned businesses to watch for hackers targeting customer data with malicious computer code like that used against retail giant Target.

Fitbit to Schumer: We don't sell personal data

Aug 22, 2014

The maker of a popular line of wearable fitness-tracking devices says it has never sold personal data to advertisers, contrary to concerns raised by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Should you be worried about paid editors on Wikipedia?

Aug 22, 2014

Whether you trust it or ignore it, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world and accessed by millions of people every day. So would you trust it any more (or even less) if you knew people ...

Philippines makes arrests in online extortion ring

Aug 22, 2014

Philippine police have arrested eight suspected members of an online syndicate accused of blackmailing more than 1,000 Hong Kong and Singapore residents after luring them into exposing themselves in front of webcam, an official ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

fleem
not rated yet Jul 08, 2010
So why isn't their legislation prohibiting these companies from so stupidly physically connecting their control systems to their Internet servers? Answer: Because there isn't a problem with that. No company would do something so stupid and useless. Therefore the purpose of this law is to advance tyranny.