Chertoff outlines goals of national cybersecurity initiative

Chertoff outlines goals of national cybersecurity initiative

SAN FRANCISCO—Five years after formation of the Homeland Security Department, cybersecurity is becoming a major focus of the department, Secretary Michael Chertoff said Tuesday at the RSA Security conference.

The department has never completely ignored the area, he said in his remarks during the opening sessions of one of the nation’s largest gathering of security professionals. He cited the National Cyber Security Division and US-CERT, the nation’s primary early warning system for cyberthreats. CERT is good, but not sufficient, he said.

“The time has come to take a quantum leap forward” from CERT’s reactive capabilities, he said.

That leap, Chertoff said, is embodied in the president’s joint national security and homeland security directive creating a National Cyber Security Initiative.

“It is almost like a Manhattan Project to defend cyber networks,” he said, referring to the World War II crash project to develop an atomic weapon.

The secretary said the decentralized, asymmetrical nature of cyberthreats makes them particularly dangerous. Not only is cybercrime expanding, but he cited the risks of cyberterrorism capable of damage “very much on a par” with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“We take the threats in the cyber world as seriously as we take threats in our real world,” he said. The department has devoted $115 million to cybersecurity activities in this year’s budget, and has requested $190 million in the fiscal 2009 budget.

Art Coviello, president of RSA, the security division of EMC, called Chertoff’s presence at this year’s conference an example of the leadership role government finally is assuming in cybersecurity.

Chertoff said many of the activities under the Cyber Security Initiative are classified, but he outlined the initial goals of the initiative. These include:

* Reducing and consolidating the thousands of federal network Internet connections under the Trusted Internet Connections initiative. Reducing the number of connections to fewer than 100 could enable better control and monitoring of activities.
* Using the certification and accreditation authority of the Office and Management and Budget under the Federal Information Security Management Act to ensure that agencies establish watch-and-warning capabilities on their networks on a 24/7 basis, to improve cyber incident detection and response capabilities.
* Developing a faster process for detecting and responding to anomalous behavior on global networks, so that attacks can be spotted in a matter of minutes, not hours.
* Fully developing the potential of Einstein, the system used by US-CERT to spot problems on global networks.

Chertoff also said the first step in establishing an effective national cybersecurity strategy is for the government to “get its own house in order,” and share its expertise and lessons learned with the private sector. He outlined three other critical elements in an effective strategy:

* Ensuring the trust and assurance of information technology components acquired for critical systems in a global marketplace.
* Better internal security and baking security into the culture of critical infrastructure organizations.
* Improving methods and technology for using security to improve online privacy, because the Internet has become an essential part of the nation’s economy.

Chertoff asked for the private sector’s help in meeting those goals, and assured businessmen that the administration has no interest in forcing more security regulation on the private sector.


Chertoff, Michael
Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia - Cite This Source

Chertoff, Michael, 1953-, U.S. government official, b. Elizabeth, N.J., grad. Harvard (B.A., 1975, J.D., 1978). A lawyer, Chertoff was an assistant federal prosecutor in New York (1983-87) and New Jersey (1987-90) before becoming U.S. attorney for New Jersey (1990-94). Subsequently in private practice, he also served (1994-96) as special counsel to the U.S. Senate committee that investigated Whitewater. Under President George W. Bush, he was (2001-3) assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Dept.'s criminal division, where, after the Sept., 2001, terror attacks, he advocated expanding government powers to deal with terrorism, including detaining terror suspects without charging them by declaring them "material witnesses." That policy became especially controversial when most such detainees were subsequently not linked to terrorist groups. Appointed to the federal appeals bench in 2003, Chertoff returned to the executive branch in 2005 as President Bush's homeland security secretary, succeeding Tom Ridge. Chertoff's, and his department's, response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina (2005) were criticized in a 2006 congressional report.

Yes, and that's just fascist Chertoff's mainstream bio, and

even that shows the sort of duplicity he's been involved in.

Consider mass emailing truth messages. More info here:

Fight the Net

US plans to 'fight the net' revealed

By Adam Brookes
BBC Pentagon correspondent

A newly declassified document gives a fascinating glimpse into the US military's plans for "information operations" - from psychological operations, to attacks on hostile computer networks.

Bloggers beware.

As the world turns networked, the Pentagon is calculating the military opportunities that computer networks, wireless technologies and the modern media offer.

From influencing public opinion through new media to designing "computer network attack" weapons, the US military is learning to fight an electronic war.

The declassified document is called "Information Operations Roadmap". It was obtained by the National Security Archive at George Washington University using the Freedom of Information Act.

Officials in the Pentagon wrote it in 2003. The Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, signed it.

Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

The "roadmap" calls for a far-reaching overhaul of the military's ability to conduct information operations and electronic warfare. And, in some detail, it makes recommendations for how the US armed forces should think about this new, virtual warfare.

The document says that information is "critical to military success". Computer and telecommunications networks are of vital operational importance.


The operations described in the document include a surprising range of military activities: public affairs officers who brief journalists, psychological operations troops who try to manipulate the thoughts and beliefs of an enemy, computer network attack specialists who seek to destroy enemy networks.

All these are engaged in information operations.

Perhaps the most startling aspect of the roadmap is its acknowledgement that information put out as part of the military's psychological operations, or Psyops, is finding its way onto the computer and television screens of ordinary Americans.

"Information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and Psyops, is increasingly consumed by our domestic audience," it reads.

"Psyops messages will often be replayed by the news media for much larger audiences, including the American public," it goes on.

The document's authors acknowledge that American news media should not unwittingly broadcast military propaganda. "Specific boundaries should be established," they write. But they don't seem to explain how.

"In this day and age it is impossible to prevent stories that are fed abroad as part of psychological operations propaganda from blowing back into the United States - even though they were directed abroad," says Kristin Adair of the National Security Archive.

Credibility problem

Public awareness of the US military's information operations is low, but it's growing - thanks to some operational clumsiness.

When it describes plans for electronic warfare, or EW, the document takes on an extraordinary tone. It seems to see the internet as being equivalent to an enemy weapons system

Late last year, it emerged that the Pentagon had paid a private company, the Lincoln Group, to plant hundreds of stories in Iraqi newspapers. The stories - all supportive of US policy - were written by military personnel and then placed in Iraqi publications.

And websites that appeared to be information sites on the politics of Africa and the Balkans were found to be run by the Pentagon.

But the true extent of the Pentagon's information operations, how they work, who they're aimed at, and at what point they turn from informing the public to influencing populations, is far from clear.

The roadmap, however, gives a flavour of what the US military is up to - and the grand scale on which it's thinking.

It reveals that Psyops personnel "support" the American government's international broadcasting. It singles out TV Marti - a station which broadcasts to Cuba - as receiving such support.

It recommends that a global website be established that supports America's strategic objectives. But no American diplomats here, thank you. The website would use content from "third parties with greater credibility to foreign audiences than US officials".

It also recommends that Psyops personnel should consider a range of technologies to disseminate propaganda in enemy territory: unmanned aerial vehicles, "miniaturized, scatterable public address systems", wireless devices, cellular phones and the internet.

'Fight the net'

When it describes plans for electronic warfare, or EW, the document takes on an extraordinary tone.

It seems to see the internet as being equivalent to an enemy weapons system.

"Strategy should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense] will 'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system," it reads.

The slogan "fight the net" appears several times throughout the roadmap.

The authors warn that US networks are very vulnerable to attack by hackers, enemies seeking to disable them, or spies looking for intelligence.

"Networks are growing faster than we can defend them... Attack sophistication is increasing... Number of events is increasing."

US digital ambition

And, in a grand finale, the document recommends that the United States should seek the ability to "provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum".

US forces should be able to "disrupt or destroy the full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum".

Consider that for a moment.

The US military seeks the capability to knock out every telephone, every networked computer, every radar system on the planet.

Are these plans the pipe dreams of self-aggrandising bureaucrats? Or are they real?

The fact that the "Information Operations Roadmap" is approved by the Secretary of Defense suggests that these plans are taken very seriously indeed in the Pentagon.

And that the scale and grandeur of the digital revolution is matched only by the US military's ambitions for it.