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Q&A: DHS Cybersecurity Chiefs Speak Out

The Department of Homeland Security aims to grow its cybersecurity workforce and technical capabilities, Phil Reitinger and Greg Schaffer say.
Reitinger: That's one specific tool to help the cybersecurity centers across the government work together more effectively and share information better. There will be other tools across the government, and other things that we need to do to make sure we can work together, but that's one specific example. We can talk about the different developments, for example, in US-CERT to develop the National Cybersecurity Protection System, which is a set of tooling that it's going to use to help protect dot gov networks and to analyze what's happening so it has situational awareness. We are trying to leverage the same kinds of technologies the private sector is leveraging today to execute against the security mission, whether it's intrusion protection systems, intrusion prevention systems, wikis, or correlation engines and tools to deal with the mass amounts of data involved in protection.

InformationWeek: You mention the National Cybersecurity Protection System, and I wanted to see if you could go into that a bit more, and if you could tell me a bit about how US-CERT is going to evolve.

Schaffer: When you're talking about the National Cybersecurity Protection System, you're actually talking about NCSD, not just US-CERT. As a practical matter, US-CERT will continue to evolve. We obviously want to continue to grow our partnerships with the various departments and agencies that are our clients in this space, as well as the private sector national security and emergency protection entities that we service. The goal is to leverage the additional data and information that comes through the deployment of the kinds of tools that we talked about, whether it’s the IDS/IPS solutions, all of these new technologies we commonly refer to as Einstein, those technologies are going to lead to better situational awareness that can then be leveraged to defend the networks that are so important to our economic growth, the protection of our citizens, the protection of privacy, the protection of our civil liberties.

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