US reveals Internet security efforts

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace (February 2003) featured the new cabinet-level United States Department of Homeland Security as the lead agency protecting Information technology.
Image: Department of Homeland Security.

The United States announced the declassification of a portion of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, a major part of the US's efforts to thwart cyber warfare, on Tuesday.

The announcement came at the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco, and was given by Howard Schmidt, who is the current US cyber-security coordinator, having been assigned the position in December.

While only a portion of the document was revealed at the announcement, and much remains classified material, including all material related to plans by the government for offensive cyber-warfare, the program has twelve parts, and has three main strategies:

  • To create a defensive mechanism against immediate threats, as well as those possible in the near future;
  • To create a defensive mechanism against a wide variety of threats, both present and future;
  • To initiate efforts to strengthen future cyber-security efforts.

The program includes funding for numerous security measures, including the government's controversial Einstein program, which scans all incoming communications to government-operated websites. The plan also mentions increasing security for classified networks within the government, as well as developing a government-wide plan for counter-intelligence work, although the declassified portions gave little indication as to what that would involve.

The program was begun by President George Bush in 2008 as a National Security Presidential Directive, and has been entirely classified until now. At its inception, it was intended to serve as a program to unify cyber-security efforts within the government and to develop other security programs for use nationwide. No budget has been released for the program, although estimates place the cost at $40 billion until 2015.