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Critics: Room for Improvement in US Protection against Cyber Threats

Photo, Crater Valley
Photo: Crater Valley

After last year’s cyber policy review, the government is making moves to protect U.S. networks against hackers and other threats, but critics say there is still a long way to go.

Although President Barack Obama deemed cybersecurity a national priority last year, some government agencies have struggled to quickly deploy protections. For example, the Department of Homeland Security is weighing whether to use private industry or National Security Agency software for its Einstein 3 program, which would serve as a watchdog for government networks.

“We’re moving forward as rapidly as possible,” despite still forming a strategy around the Einstein 3 project, said Phil Reitinger, deputy undersecretary of the National Protection and Programs Directorate.

Cybersecurity was brought into the spotlight after last year’s attack on Google, and the military is beefing up its protections against foreign and domestic threats. Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III said the Pentagon is a constant target for those who would like to steal military technology, with more than 100 foreign intelligence organizations attempting to compromise its networks.

The private sector is also a potential area of vulnerability, especially in terms of telecommunications companies and utilities infrastructure, where government cyber controls are uneven. Inroads have been made in private-sector firms such as Symantec and Microsoft, who have adopted the same vocabulary to describe network weak spots, which may lead to easier automated monitoring across industries.

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