Cybersecurity


Lawmakers call for improved counterterrorism IT

An investigation by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee into the failed attempt to bomb an airplane headed for Detroit on Christmas Day found systemic failures across intelligence agencies and that technology used by intelligence agencies isn’t adequate to provide analysts with search-enhancing tools, according to an unclassified report released earlier this week.

Previously, a White House review, led by Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan, found personnel from the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and the CIA who are responsible for the government’s watch list process didn’t search all available databases to uncover additional information on Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian national who allegedly tried to set off a bomb on the aircraft.

The committee's report identified 14 points of failure. To fix the problems, the report suggested that:

  • The State Department should develop a system to electronically notify airlines of individuals whose visas have been revoked.
  • The Obama administration should, in consultation with Congress, simplify, strengthen and add flexibility to watchlisting practices.
  • The director of national intelligence should develop a comprehensive plan to put in place advanced IT systems to can draw connections among related intelligence reports.
  • The FBI director should do a review of the bureau’s IT systems to ensure analysts have access to the necessary intelligence databases.
  • The National Security Agency should clear the backlog of reports that require review for watchlisting.
  • The NCTC should change its practices to allow for nominations to its Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment database.

 

Posted on May 21, 2010 at 7:21 PM0 comments


Senate confirms NSA chief as head of Pentagon's new Cyber Command

National Security Agency (NSA) Director Keith Alexander has been confirmed by the Senate to lead the Defense Department’s new Cyber Command, which will  integrate the military’s offensive and defensive cyber capabilities.

In approving Alexander to head the command on May 7, senators agreed by a voice vote to elevate Alexander, previously an Army lieutenant general, to a four-star  general.

Alexander detailed some of the new command’s responsibilities and roles during his confirmation hearing in April before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The Cyber Command will be located at Fort Meade, Md., which is the headquarters for the NSA.

Posted on May 11, 2010 at 7:21 PM2 comments


White House dismisses cyberattack as culprit in Dow Jones plunge

There’s no indication that a cyberattack was behind the Dow Jones industrial average’s nearly 1,000-point plummet and the partial rebound on May 6, according to White House Counterterrorism and Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan.

“To my knowledge there’s no indication that it was” the result of a cyberattack, Brennan said during a May 9 Fox News Sunday interview. 

Some people have speculated that the plunge could have been caused by some sort of electronic attack on computer systems integral to trading. Officials continue to investigate what caused the incident.

Posted on May 10, 2010 at 7:21 PM1 comments


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