29 October 2012 by Paul Dempsey
However you slice it, last week's announcement gave us a very American approach to the problem. All five companies are publicly known, but they are also significant Pentagon contractors. The plan is for their new, shall we say, assembly to now team up with Nick Fury - sorry I meant NIST, the federal government-controlled standards/research agency and build viable digital defences.
I can't blame any of the companies for doing this. Indeed, they should be lauded. President Obama has banged the drum pretty hard on cybersecurity threats throughout his administration but there's been little public evidence of comparative private sector response. Until now.
But anyone believing that the CSRA will provide benefits beyond US shores, should think again. The issues being addressed here are first and foremost those of 'national security'. Sharing the initiative's fruits in an age where cyberattacks may well be the ultimate expression of asymmetric warfare will be difficult. Remember, some of the tenser moments in this area have more recently arisen where supposed 'allies' have been caught hacking one another.
To its credit, the UK coalition government has also tried to get British companies thinking about the same threats. However, where right now are the country's equivalent players in terms of developing tools and protection?
Perhaps it's just our traditional secrecy and plans are well advanced. Somehow, though, I doubt and so I suspect do you.
Certainly, something a little more immediately obvious than a Bond movie - even a really, really good Bond movie - should get the ball rolling.
For sure, the CSRA does talk about developing viable 'technology transfer' mechanisms and all its members sell to NATO members as well as the Department of Defense.
But, as ever, nations will only have the most advanced systems in an arena where the 'latest' changes every day, if its own national technology powerhouses (even if it can only be done at NATO or EU level) get involved.
The CSRA is therefore something of a global wake-up call.
Posted By: Paul Dempsey @ 29 October 2012 09:30 AM General
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