Risk
9/26/2013
03:58 PM
50%
50%

NSA Chief: Don't Dump Essential Security Tools

Gen. Keith Alexander defends National Security Agency practices, argues for advances in cybersecurity cooperation.

Iris Scans: Security Technology In Action
Iris Scans: Security Technology In Action
(click image for larger view)
The head of the U.S. Cyber Command had come to talk about the state of cybersecurity in America. But Gen. Keith Alexander, who also directs the National Security Agency, took the offensive, delivering an impassioned defense of NSA practices Wednesday, in the wake of recriminations over the agency's collection and handling of Americans' phone records.

He also asked government and industry executives, gathered at a cybersecurity summit in Washington, for their support in maintaining the NSA's data-collection and surveillance efforts.

"In the last week, over 950 people were killed in Kenya, Iraq, Yemen" and elsewhere in the world as a result of terrorist attacks, he said. "We've been fortunate to have avoided that in the U.S., but it's not just because of luck," he added, referring to the work of analysts and agents at the NSA, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies.

Alexander said the data gathering and analytic tools the U.S. intelligence community has assembled since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks have been instrumental in averting at least 54 terrorist attacks in the U.S. and overseas. But in light of growing demands by legislators and privacy advocates to end the NSA's data collection practices, he acknowledged, "We're going to have a debate in this country on do we give up those tools. I'm concerned we're going to make the wrong choice."

[ Is the NSA tapping your smartphone? Read NSA Vs. Your Smartphone: 5 Facts. ]

The NSA director tried to dispel what he called sensationalized media reports about the NSA's activities, explaining that when the NSA collects phone records, it only sees the phone numbers, time of day and duration of each call. "There is no content and no names," he said, insisting NSA analysts are not collecting the content of America's communications.

"We'd need a warrant to do that," said Alexander, pointing to provisions in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), authorized in 2008. Warrants are issued when Americans are shown to be in contact with foreign targets overseas, and that occurred fewer than 300 times in 2012, he said. Alexander acknowledged that NSA analysts had made technical and operational errors that counted as conduct violations, but insisted that over the past decade, "we've had only 12 willful violations" where individuals used NSA systems wrongfully, mainly in pursuit of foreign nationals, and "we held them accountable."

Information released by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has exposed the NSA to criticism that NSA analysts have been able to skirt FISA rules. Lawmakers, including Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), have introduced legislation that would end the program that allows the NSA to collect domestic phone records.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
rman23
50%
50%
rman23,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/26/2013 | 9:03:18 PM
re: NSA Chief: Don't Dump Essential Security Tools
Right. This is from the guy that said they didn't collect phone records from American citizens.
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-3586
Published: 2015-04-21
The default configuration for the Command Line Interface in Red Hat Enterprise Application Platform before 6.4.0 and WildFly (formerly JBoss Application Server) uses weak permissions for .jboss-cli-history, which allows local users to obtain sensitive information via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-5361
Published: 2015-04-21
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in Landesk Management Suite 9.6 and earlier allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) start, (2) stop, or (3) restart services via a request to remote/serverServices.aspx.

CVE-2014-5370
Published: 2015-04-21
Directory traversal vulnerability in the CFChart servlet (com.naryx.tagfusion.cfm.cfchartServlet) in New Atlanta BlueDragon before 7.1.1.18527 allows remote attackers to read or possibly delete arbitrary files via a .. (dot dot) in the QUERY_STRING to cfchart.cfchart.

CVE-2014-8111
Published: 2015-04-21
Apache Tomcat Connectors (mod_jk) before 1.2.41 ignores JkUnmount rules for subtrees of previous JkMount rules, which allows remote attackers to access otherwise restricted artifacts via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-8125
Published: 2015-04-21
XML external entity (XXE) vulnerability in Drools and jBPM before 6.2.0 allows remote attackers to read arbitrary files or possibly have other unspecified impact via a crafted BPMN2 file.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join security and risk expert John Pironti and Dark Reading Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson for a live online discussion of the sea-changing shift in security strategy and the many ways it is affecting IT and business.