Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

4/21/2009
03:51 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

NSA Director: Agency Not Interested In Running U.S. Cybersecurity

Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander tells security industry audience the National Security Agency wants to act as technical support in a "team" effort

SAN FRANCISCO -- RSA CONFERENCE 2009 -- It turns out the National Security Agency (NSA) doesn't want to be in charge of the U.S.'s cybersecurity operations after all: NSA's director told attendees here today that the agency sees itself as part of a team that includes the Department of Homeland Security and the security industry.

Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, who is also chief of the Central Security Service, said he wanted to set the record straight that it won't be just the NSA or DHS that will oversee the nation's cybersecurity efforts. Speculation and concerns about privacy had been running high during the past few weeks amid reports that the NSA was lobbying to head cybersecurity. Adding fuel to that fire: In February Dennis Blair, director of National Intelligence, told a House intelligence committee that the NSA should have a wider role in cybersecurity.

"We don't want to run cybersecurity for the U.S. government. That's a big job," Alexander said in his keynote address at the RSA Conference. "We need to have a partnership with others. DHS has a big role in it.

"It's one network, and we all have to work together," including the security industry, he added. "We'll provide the technical support they can lean on."

Alexander went public with the NSA's position just a day before Melissa Hathaway, a former Bush administration official who President Obama has charged with conducting a 60-day review of the country's cybersecurity posture, will deliver a keynote here, as well. Hathaway's review was delivered to Obama late last week, and she is expected to outline some of the issues here tomorrow.

NSA's Alexander touted the NSA's security talent in cryptomathematicians, and emphasized its expertise in securing the .mil and intelligence networks. He also alluded to "mistakes" the agency has made, but that it "self-reports" and corrects them, and is under several layers of oversight, including Congress and the administration. It's not "security or civil liberties," he said. "We have to endeavor to do both equally."

The nation needs an early warning system for attacks that includes its allies, he said. "We should work together to provide this," he said. "We have to build situational awareness."

But Alexander admitted it won't be easy from NSA's perspective as an agency that must preserve some of the secrets it gathers. "How do we protect secrets and work to secure the network as a team? That's what we've got to learn to do," he said. "The bottom line is the security industry has a tough job. We are there to work with you as a team."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
For Cybersecurity to Be Proactive, Terrains Must Be Mapped
Craig Harber, Chief Technology Officer at Fidelis Cybersecurity,  10/8/2019
A Realistic Threat Model for the Masses
Lysa Myers, Security Researcher, ESET,  10/9/2019
USB Drive Security Still Lags
Dark Reading Staff 10/9/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
2019 Online Malware and Threats
2019 Online Malware and Threats
As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-17545
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-14
GDAL through 3.0.1 has a poolDestroy double free in OGRExpatRealloc in ogr/ogr_expat.cpp when the 10MB threshold is exceeded.
CVE-2019-17546
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-14
tif_getimage.c in LibTIFF through 4.0.10, as used in GDAL through 3.0.1 and other products, has an integer overflow that potentially causes a heap-based buffer overflow via a crafted RGBA image, related to a "Negative-size-param" condition.
CVE-2019-17547
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-14
In ImageMagick before 7.0.8-62, TraceBezier in MagickCore/draw.c has a use-after-free.
CVE-2019-17501
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-14
Centreon 19.04 allows attackers to execute arbitrary OS commands via the Command Line field of main.php?p=60807&type=4 (aka the Configuration > Commands > Discovery screen).
CVE-2019-17539
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-14
In FFmpeg before 4.2, avcodec_open2 in libavcodec/utils.c allows a NULL pointer dereference and possibly unspecified other impact when there is no valid close function pointer.