Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

October 7, 2008

Chertoff Elaborates on DHS Cyber Posture

Filed under: Cybersecurity — by Jonah Czerwinski on October 7, 2008

DHS plans to go on the offensive in cyberspace. Secretary Chertoff told a group of reporters last week, including CNN, that following Einstein 2.0, which monitors and reports cyber intrusions in real time, we can expect a version 3.0 to act “like an anti-aircraft weapon, shoot down an attack before it hits its target,” Chertoff said. “And that’s what we call Einstein 3.0.”

The Bush administration introduced a National Cyber Security Initiative in January that is to be carried out by DHS, Defense, the Intel Community, and others. The role for DHS – and the extent to which it would lead any part of the Initiative – is the subject of some uncertainty. The “most immediate component” of the National Cyber Security Initiative for DHS, Chertoff said, is to increase security for federal government computer systems.

Tomorrow, Secretary Chertoff convenes a group of us from the blogosphere to discuss the DHS role in the National Cyber Security Initiative. I intend to ask about how the Department plans to deal with the implications of an offensive approach to cybersecurity, considered an escalation by some, for DHS. There is a wide spectrum of productive activity in cyber security between simply monitoring attacks and conducting the (counter)attacks. However, I’d like to know DHS is looking at this entire spectrum.

If you have questions on the topic of the National Cyber Security Initiative and the DHS role in it, please submit comments here.

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Comment by Eric

October 7, 2008 @ 8:48 am

Whatever the benefits of the National Cyber Security Initiative to the government, there is a need to extend cyber-protection, resilience and investment in the private sector. With the vast majority of networks (financial, telecom, industrial/corporate) and critical infrastructure (energy, telecom, etc.) how does DHS intend to transfer the added security, or even simply posture, developed in government systems from the NCSI to the private sector?

Comment by William R. Cumming

October 7, 2008 @ 1:21 pm

Interesting article on faulty chips and other possible cyber-security lapses (servers as intrusive devices) in the October 13th Business Week Mag. Might be worth a comment to Chertoff since going with the lowest bidder at DOD may have made systems and weapons vulnerable. How about DHS’s own cyber security and procurements? Does DHS as a matter of course include cyber-security as a significant requirement when procuring its own IT and other critical systems? Should OMB Circular A-130 be turned into a regulatory program led by DHS?

Comment by Christopher Tingus

October 7, 2008 @ 10:05 pm

As “Joe Citizen” who understands the reasonableness in the prerequisite requirements of providing and assuring that cyber-security is most certainly one of our nation’s foremost priorities, many fellow citizens and taxpayers look to the void of our entrusted politicians and DHS leadership to provide us with their honest response in how they intend to provide the necessary commitment to us and to people throughout the world given the fact that both sides of the aisle have managed to allow trillions of dollars to be lost with all state and national budgets are at jeopardy.

Mr. “Joe Citizen” is alarmed when thinking about cyber-security and the commitment required at a time when we see China utilizing fiat dollars to broaden their military influence on the seas and globally and most assuredly looking to the skies comprehending the significance of the dominance that can be achieved….

God Bless us and our great nation as the obvious dismissal of us the taxpayer and voter as portrayed by Congress passing a “bailout package” of their Wall Street buddies affects our security and it seems those we entrust in leadership continue to fail the principals of the most trusted nation, a country which has been the beacon of hope for so, so many!

Christopher Tingus
Harwich, MA 02645

Comment by Jonah Czerwinski

October 8, 2008 @ 8:48 am

Mr Tingus — Was there a question you had about the DHS role in the National Cyber Security Initiative?


Comment by Christopher Tingus

October 8, 2008 @ 10:23 am

Dear Sir,

As always – a sincere thank you for opening this forum to all intersted participants especially those like me in the genral populace who is keenly aware of the necessity and – priority – of Cyber Security.

I have not necessarily a question, but more a concern that Homeland Security has been seemingly politicized and lacking in the confidence of the American people and wit this issue so very important to our security, should there be one related Pentagon Cyber Security team of professionals who oversee any and all requirements of Homeland Security and any other government agency as well as advising private industry….

Given the blatent failure of requiring full accountability and the obvious failure of both Democrat and Republican leadership, Secretary Chertoff and others must understand that many of us truly only trust those at the Joint Chiefs of Staff and those at the Pentagon and from my “Mr. Joe Citizen” perspective, any and all questions/concerns/cyber-security programs adopted and implemented should be at the directive of a new Pentagon Department of Cyber-Security if one does not exist and if it does – I (we) would rather see its responsibilities broadened..

We have a crisis in confidence not only in local, state and national financial markets and even global markets, but with the Russians and Chinese making many threatening advancements in technology, our confidence is with our esteemed military operations command and the necessity of such an ambitious effort to help DHS HQ as well as the private sector with very real concerns.

I emphasize that we as a populace are very concerned about the politics of this nation and we would pregfer any and all Cyber-security decision-making and implementation to be handled by those we can only entrust at the Pentagon and NSA where we have seen objective leadership and response to all of our concerns.

Pls thank Mr. Chertoff for his service and to all those at DHS HQ and FEMA who seem to understand their commitment to us the public, however too much politics has been displayed in numerous tasks which should have been addressed in different manner and with the national crisis and global crisis at hand and an aggressive Russian agenda particularly and its intentional alignment to Iran and ina $5Billion assistance to Iceland, military exercises with Chavez at our backdoor and a gowing EU Army which will inevitably confront militant fundamentalists and Iran, I (we) cannot longer entrust a National Cyber-Security Initiative in a comprehensive manner to the devisive politics on both sides of the aisle and Homeland Security and FEMA from at least my perspective are overwhelmed and incapable of the technical knowledge and discipline needed if we are truly to address the very serious consequences if we fail in any aspect of a National Cyber-secuity Initiative.

Thank you for your access to DHS HQ for they need to hear from both you and William Cumming who is so brilliant in his knowledge and willingness to step forward and ask, like you, the questions most important to assuring us the security we entrust to government leadership.

Christopher Tingus
Harwich, MA USA
aka “Mr. Joe Citizen”

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