The National Security Agency is working with Internet providers to deploy a new generation of tools to scan e-mail and other digital traffic with the goal of thwarting cyberattacks against defense firms by foreign adversaries, senior defense and industry officials say.

The novel program, which began last month on a voluntary, trial basis, relies on sophisticated NSA data sets to identify malicious programs slipped into the vast stream of Internet data flowing to the nation’s largest defense firms. Such attacks, including one last month against Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin, are nearly constant as rival nations and terrorist groups seek access to U.S. military secrets.

We hope the . . . cyber pilot can be the beginning of something bigger,” Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said at a global security conference in Paris on Thursday. “It could serve as a model that can be transported to other critical infrastructure sectors, under the leadership of the Department of Homeland Security.”

The prospect of a role for the NSA, the nation’s largest spy agency and a part of the Defense Department, in helping Internet providers filter domestic Internet traffic already had raised concerns among privacy activists. Lynn’s suggestion that the program might be extended beyond the work of defense contractors threatened to raise the stakes further.

Despite protestations to the contrary, don’t you think this means it will be easier to spy on you, to hunt you down at the behest of content providers to toss your sorry ass in jail for illegally streaming video, and, well, just because?

  1. HUGSaLOT says:

    Best way to keep terrorists from obtaining U.S. military secrets is to not put it on the internet in the first place. DUH

    If it needs to be on a computer network it should be completely and physically SEPERATE from the internet.

  2. some guy says:

    1+9+8+4 = 22, as in 2022…. so no, we are not behind schedule.

  3. dusanmal says:

    One more proof that Constitutional Amendment, not FCC regulation is needed to protect the freedom of the Internet. Call it NetNeutrality Amendment or (what I prefer) Extension of 1st Amendment to modern technology, but it is what is needed to stop this type of BS.And it is simple: any information exchanged over Internet should be protected speech. No obstructing it, no falsifying it, no spying on it without Court Order (and very hard even to get the Court Order)….

  4. MikeN says:

    Let’s all exercise our new right of internet free speech by sending packets towards dusanmal’s computer. I’m also submitting lots of password attempts, let’s distribute these. Once done we’ll just copy his credit card info.

  5. Dallas says:

    New normal. Get used to it.

    We (you) gave up liberties to protect our children from the towel heads. Remember?

  6. msbpodcast says:

    The world won’t give a crap about this anymore that we gave a crap about what was happening in the USSR/Russia, China, Myanmar or any point on the planet outside the border of the continental United States.

    We’re going to slide down into obscurity, irrelevance and oblivion and we’ll just reap what we’ve sown.

    I’m double encrypting my emails archives just be a pain in the NSA’s dong.

    I’m using entire passages of foreign texts as my GPG (OpenPGP) encryption keys.

    Which of the books I used is not accessible on the internet, the books may be but there is no way to know in what order I used to go through the books to make one time pads.

    Its algorithmic and simple enough to use but impossible to figure out.

    The transmission of the one time pads to the recipients has been over since before the founding of the web and was done in Canada.

  7. Ah_Yea says:

    Just block everything originating from China and Romania.

    Problem solved.

  8. sargasso_c says:

    I for one welcome our new NSA information overlords.

  9. Uncle Patso says:

    This actually sounds like a good idea to me.

    From the article:

    – – – – – – – – –
    “The U.S. government will not be monitoring, intercepting or storing any private-sector communications,” Lynn said. “Rather, threat intelligence provided by the government is helping the companies themselves, or the Internet service providers working on their behalf, to identify and stop malicious activity within their networks.”
    – – – – – – – – –

    and, a little later:

    – – – – – – – – –
    But the initiative stalled for months because of numerous concerns, including Justice Department worries that the program would run afoul of privacy laws forbidding government surveillance of private Internet traffic. Officials have, at least for now, allayed that concern by saying that the government will not directly filter the traffic or receive the malicious code captured by the Internet providers.
    – – – – – – – – –

    If it were up to me to worry about cybersecurity for a major defense contractor, I’d welcome the help of the NSA. Who would know better what the threats are? The NSA provides threat assessments, my ISP takes that data and uses it to scan my traffic, just the way my antivirus gets threat signature data from the software company to scan my computer. I just hope it doesn’t lull them into a false sense of security.


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