The US Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) has officially become operational this week. And they may already be looking at expanding their duties. According to a Wired.com article today, Cyber Command may be tasked with not just protecting government systems, but civilian also:
“At a gathering this week of top cybersecurity officials and defense contractors, the Pentagon’s number two floated the idea that the Defense Department might start a protective program for civilian networks, based on a deeply controversial effort to keep hackers out of the government’s pipes.”
CYBERCOM is responsible for securing and defending military ‘cyber space’ and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is tasked with civilian cyber security issues. Currently, it is against federal law for a civilian to counter attack a malicious hacker. With the vast number of civilian assets and the flood of electronic intrusions, it just makes sense to give the DHS some help.
The government is creating automated systems to help defend cyberspace. Einstein 2 detects threats as they occur and the new Einstein 3 will be able to detect attacks as they develop and immediately notify the NSA. Privacy issues have been raised over these automated systems that inspect several different communication layers for keywords and signatures. The Einstein system has been offered to AT&T, and if collaboration continues, may be available to other civilian entities as well.