White House cyber chief pushes Internet operations center

The White House's cybersecurity specialist on Tuesday lobbied technologists attending a conference to support his recommendation that the private sector and federal government create an "Internet operations center" to constantly monitor the Internet for attacks.

Speaking at a conference sponsored by the Internet security company Symantec, Richard Clarke, head of the White House Office of Cyberspace Security, said the federal government should take a greater role in updating and securing Internet protocols. He asked attendees to send their reactions and comments about both ideas, as well as the draft cybersecurity strategy released last month, to the White House.

Clarke said comments regarding the national strategy would be summarized and made public after the Nov. 18 submission deadline. Because of the White House privacy policy, however, commenters' identities will remain anonymous. In the weeks following the release of the strategy, several privacy groups expressed concern that the government would not release the comments.

Clarke said he envisions an Internet operations center where 15 to 20 of the nation's largest Internet service providers (ISPs) and router and security companies would provide constant data on the state of the Internet. The government would not run the center, but it would receive some government funding, he said. A university or national laboratory could host the center, he said.

"Nowhere is there a synaptic view of the Internet. ... Nowhere can you go to get a real-time look at ... whether there is a virus spreading or a huge denial-of-service attack," Clarke said. "There needs to be some place for that, not in the government, though we might help put it together and pay for it ... but a place for that synaptic view to know if we are under attack."

Clarke said ISPs and telecommunications companies approached him with the idea of a monitoring center, leading him to believe that the private sector would participate. Clarke said he hopes to include the center in the final strategy and recommend that Congress fund it. He said the cost is not likely to be large, though he declined to elaborate.

On Internet protocols, Clarke said the government could participate in Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meetings and fund IETF test beds as they develop more secure protocols. There is an IETF security group focused on the issue, he said, "but often it takes a long time for the IETF to test those protocols because of lack of test beds," which the government could help foster.

Clarke reiterated that the government should not regulate cybersecurity and that market forces would result in companies and individuals doing more to protect their computer networks. He also rejected the idea that the government could offer tax incentives to companies that implement cybersecurity plans. He said that would mean less money in the treasury, and there is no way to target how money from the tax incentive would be spent.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.