NSA's cyber overkill

NSA's cyber overkill
NSA's cyber overkill,0,6845797.story 

By Jesselyn Radack
The Los Angeles Times
July 14, 2009

Cyber security is a real issue, as evidenced by the virus behind July 4 
cyber attacks that hobbled government and business websites in the 
United States and South Korea. It originated from Internet provider 
addresses in 16 countries and targeted, among others, the White House 
and the New York Stock Exchange.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration has chosen to combat it in a 
move that runs counter to its pledge to be transparent. The 
administration reportedly is proceeding with a Bush-era plan to use the 
National Security Agency to screen government computer traffic on 
private-sector networks. AT&T is slated to be the likely test site. This 
classified pilot program, dubbed "Einstein 3," is developed but not yet 
rolled out. It takes two offenders from President Bush's contentious 
secret surveillance program and puts them in charge of scrutinizing all 
Internet traffic going to or from federal government agencies.

Despite its name, the Einstein 3 program is more genie than genius -- an 
omnipotent force (run by the NSA via AT&T's "secret rooms") that does 
the government's bidding -- spying. The last time around, this sort of 
scheme was known as the "special access" program -- "special" being code 
for "unconstitutional."

Einstein 3 purportedly is meant to protect government networks from 
hackers. But cyber-security experts -- such as Babak Pasdar, who blew 
the whistle on a mysterious "Quantico Circuit" while working for a major 
service provider -- agree that Einstein 3 offers no intrinsic security 
value. The program is implemented where servers exchange traffic between 
one another -- in the heart of a network system rather than at the 
perimeter, which interfaces with the outside world. This is similar to a 
home security system that only monitors the central interior of a house, 
rather than keeping an eye on the actual doors (and the purpose of 
hackers may simply be to enter).


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