Information Warfare: The NSA Steps Up


September 29, 2007: Apparently, the Cyber War threat to the United States has gotten a lot worse, or perhaps bureaucrats are just paying more attention. Now the "A Team" (NSA, National Security Agency) has been called in to play a major role in protecting U.S. networks from attacks coming in via the Internet.

Over half a century ago, the NSA was created, in secret, to develop secure methods of communication for government business, and, more importantly, developed ways to access the secure communications of other nations. But over the years, the NSA expanded its operations, not always voluntarily. This was often caused by the fact that the NSA has long been successful in attracting top scientific and engineering talent. Government officials gradually discovered that, if no one else could figure something out, someone over at NSA often had the

The new NSA assignment, to provide better detection methods for Cyber War attacks, and help in building better defenses, is really nothing new. NSA engineers have been working with the companies, and individuals, that create and maintain Internet software, for over a

decade. That includes Microsoft, and many other publishers. But this cooperation was largely informal, and mainly to help NSA stay on top of its main job.

For many years, NSA has been sharing some of its Cyber War experiences with the rest of the world. All in the name of increasing Internet security in general. The NSA has no easy answers, and points out that, unless you have an outrageous amount of money to spend on defenses, your networks are probably vulnerable to a very determined attack. But in most cases, hackers will seek the path of least resistance. So the strongest nets are left alone, while the more vulnerable get hit really hard.

The NSA task will be to help defend non-classified government networks as well as, for some time now, classified ones. The NSA has put a lot of effort into monitoring the Internet, for intelligence purposes. In the process, it has learned a lot about Internet based crime, spying and sabotage. Thus the NSA is a perfect candidate for its new


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