President Obama plans to build upon the Bush Administration’s Einstein 3 cyber security plan using National Security Agency (NSA) technology, according to Washington Post and Wall Street Journal reports. The telephone company AT&T Inc. will most likely be used for the Einstein pilot test site, according to government officials.
The Einstein program began in 2003 through the Department of Homeland Security to solely monitor internet traffic within government networks. Einstein 1 is the DHS’ current initiative to detect illegal tapings into government networks. Einstein 2 is the updated and more advanced version of Einstein 1 and in the process of installment.
Einstein 3 is innovative in that it can not only detect cyber intrusions but also stop data theft and prevent malicious software from penetrating government computers in real-time. In Simpler terms former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff explains,”Intrusion detection is like a cop with a radar gun on a highway who catches you speeding or drunk and phones ahead to somebody at the other end. Einstein 3 is a cop who actually arrests you and pulls you off the road when he sees you driving drunk.”
The goal of the AT&T pilot program is to prove that Einstein 3 can safely and effectively only monitor and detect government agency networks and lay the issue of privacy to rest. The pilot will then test the programs effectiveness in scanning government civilian networks. Essentially, the original Bush administration program will scan email codes before they are sent out or sent to civilian agency networks.
The Department of Homeland Security Einstein 3 pilot program, based on NSA’s military network monitoring technology, was set to launch in February, a new date has yet to be released.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told reporters, “The NSA will provide technical assistance. We absolutely intend to use the technical resources, the substantial ones that NSA has.”
In Friday’s Wall Street Journal government insiders estimated that the project of securing nonmilitary government computers will cost around $2 billion by the systems completion.