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Businesses seek classified data about network threats

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November 2, 2011
Cyber Security, FedCyber Wire, Responses
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Businesses operating critical infrastructure, such as the energy and banking sectors, want to join a new government program that would give them access to classified intelligence on cyber threats. The program, which is currently restricted to certain defense contractors, is aimed at strengthening commercial networks serving the military.

The thinking at the Pentagon is that power companies and other businesses vital to troops should be privy to malware surveillance collected by the National Security Agency, the military’s spy branch. The Defense Department does not have the authority to guard civilian systems. That responsibility falls to the Homeland Security Department, which would be a key player in any such initiative.

The Pentagon expects to extend the classified program to all military contractors this year, and “there is also
active discussion about expanding the pilot, through DHS, to other sectors beyond defense,” Defense spokeswoman Lt. Col. April Cunningham says. Homeland Security officials say they have not come to an agreement on whether rolling out the program in the civilian space would be beneficial. A 90-day trial run with select military vendors recently ended, “and we are now evaluating its effectiveness and potential before deciding whether or not to expand its scope,” DHS spokesman Chris Ortman says.

via NextGov, continued here.