When it comes to security, cooperation is the name of the game. At least that's how the federal government is approaching the threat of cyberattacks. While federal officials figure out a way to create a virtual cybercrime-fighting botnet ―using virtually all the machines owned by individuals, businesses and governments ―the Pentagon is putting the finishing touches on an agreement with U.S. allies to expedite the flow of shared intelligence.
The White House announced plans for a cyber "ecosystem" in which networked devices "will automatically work together in near real time to anticipate and prevent cyberattacks, automatically respond to attacks while continuing normal operations."
Before they begin, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Institute of Standards and Technology are seeking public input about the likely benefits or challenges presented by the project.
An endeavor like this is a big one. Officials acknowledged that for such a system to work, it would require other governments, businesses, universities and individual consumers to buy into the system wholesale. Government officials also said they were examining such a system's potential collateral effects on privacy, civil liberties and information sharing.
The solicitation for input into a mechanism to fight cybercrime the same way “the human body reacts to an infection” will seek to answer questions of technology readiness, adaptability and maturity.
There are still more questions than answers as the United States looks for ways to beef up security, but when it comes to sharing military intelligence between nations, the Pentagon's got the answer.
In what the Defense Department described as a key agreement, it will now be able to share large amounts of information with the intelligence communities of Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand ―collectively known as the Five Eyes.
"We have far more ability to share, particularly in relation to network defense and information assurance, than we've ever had previously," Marine Corps Maj. Gen. George Allen told Killer Apps.
The agreement opens up communication channels in order to share cyberattack-related information much more quickly than U.S. intelligence operatives have been able to ―something that's crucial in an age where attacks can travel at the speed of light.
"It's extremely important, because you may see a certain threat in the U.K. that we haven't yet seen in the U.S. and you want to be able to try to bolster your defenses by seeing that before it hits us," Allen explained.
Based on these two new strategies, the United States seems to recognizes that it can't fight a digital attack with an analog arsenal. These initiatives indicate that Washington is stepping up its effort to combat digital attacks by keeping up with the cybercriminals.