Tags: Edward Snowden | Homeland Security | NSA/Surveillance | Jeh Johnson | cybersecurity | silicon valley | internet

Obama Administration Takes Cybersecurity Push to Silicon Valley

Image: Obama Administration Takes Cybersecurity Push to Silicon Valley
(Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Landov)

By    |   Monday, 27 Apr 2015 12:51 PM

Trying to convince cyber firms and techno-whizzes to cooperate with the White House on Internet security, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter launched a tour of Silicon Valley last week, making an appeal for a partnership that would provide enhanced security for the Internet use while allowing the feds a "back door" entry for intelligence gathering.

However, Web companies and developers remain skeptical of the government's aims, given the revelations of massive National Security Agency data gathering on U.S. Internet and phone users revealed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden two years ago, The New York Times reports.

"I think that people and companies need to be convinced that everything we do in the cyber domain is lawful and appropriate and necessary," Carter told students and faculty at Stanford, though he added that Snowden's revelations "showed there was a difference in view between what we were doing and what people perceived us as doing," the Times reported.

Carter discussed the government's new cybersecurity measures, stating at Stanford, "The cyber threat against U.S. interests is increasing in severity and sophistication. While the North Korean cyber attack on Sony was the most destructive on a U.S. entity so far, this threat affects us all.

"Just as Russia and China have advanced cyber capabilities and strategies ranging from stealthy network penetration to intellectual property theft, criminal and terrorist networks are also increasing their cyber operations. Low-cost and global proliferation of malware have lowered barriers to entry and made it easier for smaller malicious actors to strike in cyberspace," the Stanford News reported.

Carter outlined the Pentagon's plan to create a Cyber Mission Force of 6,200 technically savvy people in 133 teams by 2018 to "hunt down intruders, red-team our networks and perform the forensics that help keep our systems secure," the Stanford News reported.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is setting up a Silicon Valley office and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson stated at a recent RSA cybersecurity conference in San Francisco, "We want to strengthen critical relationships in Silicon Valley and ensure the government and the private sector benefits from each other's research and development.

"We want to convince some of the talented workforce here in Silicon Valley to come to Washington. The new U.S. Digital Service provides the option for talent to flow and rotate between private industry and our government teams," Yahoo News reported.

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However, encryption expert Ronald Rivest told the Times, "There are lots of problems with these ideas. We live in a global information system now, and it’s not going to be just the U.S. government that wants a key. It’s going to be the U.K., it’s going to be Germany, it’s going to be Israel, it’s going to be China, it’s going to be Iran, etc."

"The amount of information that intelligence officials are collecting, even if some sources go dark, is dramatically more than it has been in history," cryptographer Paul Kocher told the Times.

Johnson said, "The current course we are on, towards deeper and deeper encryption, in response to the demands of the marketplace, is one that presents real challenges to those in law enforcement and national security.

"Encryption is making it harder for your government to find criminal activity. We need your help to find the solution," Yahoo News reported.

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Trying to convince cyber firms and techno-whizzes to cooperate with the White House on Internet security, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter launched a tour of Silicon Valley last week, making an appeal for a partnership that would provide enhanced security.
Jeh Johnson, cybersecurity, silicon valley, internet
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2015-51-27
Monday, 27 Apr 2015 12:51 PM
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