Details of Einstein Cyber Shield disclosed by White House

By Siobhan Gorman

The Obama administration lifted the veil Tuesday on a highly-secretive set of policies to defend the U.S. from cyber attacks.

It was an open secret that the National Security Agency was bolstering a Homeland Security program to detect and respond to cyber attacks on government systems, but a summary of that program declassified Tuesday provides more details of NSA’s role in a Homeland program known as Einstein.

The current version of the program is widely seen as providing meager protection against attack, but a new version being built will be more robust–largely because it’s rooted in NSA technology. The program is designed to look for indicators of cyber attacks by digging into all Internet communications, including the contents of emails, according to the declassified summary.

Homeland Security will then strip out identifying information and pass along data on new threats to NSA. It will also use threat information from NSA to better identify emerging cyber attacks.

NSA’s role is a careful balance because of the political battles that ensued over the agency’s role in domestic surveillance in the George W. Bush administration. Declassifying details of the NSA’s role, in a program initially developed during the Bush administration and continued in the Obama administration, will likely ignite new debates over privacy.

The White House’s new cyber-security chief, Howard Schmidt, announced the move to declassify the program in a speech at the RSA conference in San Francisco–his first major public address since assuming the post in January. He said addressing potential privacy concerns was one of the ten initial steps he planned to take. “We’re really paying attention, and we get it,” he said.

REST OF ARTICLE

Thanks to Alisilver for the headsup  on this.

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5 Responses to Details of Einstein Cyber Shield disclosed by White House

  1. AliSilver says:

    Looks like we better start inserting ” I love the government” randomly throughout all our emails :D

  2. Red Faction says:

    With Bush and his Patriot Act, we knew they were spying on us. With the current “transparent” crowd in the White House, who knows what they doing to collect information on us.

    When Linda Douglas encouraged us to tell on others: “If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.” http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/Facts-Are-Stubborn-Things/

    Using Health Care as a reason in this case, it’s about free speech and privacy becoming a privilege for some, not a right for all.

    timesr Reply:

    @Red Faction, “Using Health Care as a reason in this case, it’s about free speech and privacy becoming a privilege for some, not a right for all.”

    If something is published on the web, or sent in a chain email, it is not private.

    Red Faction Reply:

    @timesr, Wrong… it is not just something “published on the web, or sent in a chain email”, it’s web sites you visit, content you download, messages you Twitter, blogs you post to, cell phone text messages, cell phone calls, channels you watch on cable or satellite TV, and every other kind of electronic communication the NSA can monitor.

    There is even a guy up the street from me who is tracking his teenage son with Google Maps in real time using the capability to monitor location on his son’s cell phone. So, in addition to knowing what we are saying, they know where we are at any moment.

    Our ability for private electronic communications with one-another is being confiscated and we are being monitored by the Government. If you want to talk to someone in private, use US snail mail, Fedex or UPS, and one wonders how long privacy will last with those.

    timesr Reply:

    @Red Faction, “Wrong… it is not just something “published on the web, or sent in a chain email”…

    That was from your link.

    IMH, that wasn’t an example of government spying on private citizens.

    Your neighbor tracking his teenage son doesn’t have anything to do with the government either.

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