11 Nov 15. AT&T joins DHS Einstein cybersecurity program.
one of the three major Internet service providers, along with Verizon and CenturyLink — signed a contract with DHS to provide intrusion prevention services through Einstein 3, allowing DHS to deploy the sophisticated firewall at agencies that use AT&T as their ISP.
Verizon and CenturyLink signed on to the program years ago, however, negotiations with AT&T stalled over questions of liability, according to a former DHS official.
“They were not interested in participating in E3A without 2511 protection,” a kind of liability protection that would have to come from the Department of Justice, said Chris Cummiskey, former DHS acting undersecretary for management, who was involved in those initial discussions.
Without AT&T’s participation in the program, large swaths of the federal government would be left out.
“It’s really essential to the whole strategy — to basically build protection using the Internet service providers as the aggregation points for government traffic, you have to have the largest providers participating in that,” Cummiskey said, noting AT&T serves 30-35 percent of federal civilian networks. “It’s a positive indicator of the pressure that’s been brought to bear to get this program jumpstarted.”
After the high-profile breaches of the Office of Personnel Management networks were revealed earlier this year, DHS officials announced plans to accelerate the program, dubbing the third phase Einstein 3 Accelerated (E3A).
The third phase of the Einstein program is designed to actively identify and block malicious traffic as it enters the network before it can infiltrate and do damage. Earlier phases enabled detection and mitigation of known threats while E3 is intended to block such attacks at the ISP level.
A DHS spokesman declined to comment on the negotiation process, including whether AT&T was granted liability protection or the scope of the final contract.
In a Nov. 11 blog post announcing the contract, Chris Smith, vice president of technology for AT&T Government Solutions, noted the partnership is an important step to protecting the .gov domain.
“Today, information is currency, power and advantage,” he wrote. “The combination of government threat information and commercial threat indicators boosts our ability to help the federal government and businesses in their ongoing fight against cyber threats.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
10 Nov 15. US Army Learning How Cyber Support Plays Role In Tactical Operations. The Army’s cyber branch is using pilot programs and training center rotations to show commanders at a variety of echelons what cyber capabilities can be brought to the table and, at the same time, refine how cyber will be a part of tactical operations both on the defensive and offensive side, cyber leaders said Tuesday at an Association of the US Army forum. And there’s room for improvement in how cyber support teams communicate to commanders what tools and capabilities can be used in operations, they said.
“The Army’s dependency on networks is increasing significantly, and it’s not going to decrease,” Maj. Gen. Charles Flynn, the 25th Infantry Division’s commanding general, said at an AUSA cyber forum in Arlington, Virginia.
There are a variety of things in which Army cyber is not yet up to speed. “The policies, permissions and authorities are not changing at the speeds relative to the threats; the skills are not developing at the speed relative to threats; commanders’ awareness in broad terms remains to be lacking and a big change in command for communications and cyber remain confusing across the force,” Flynn said.
The commander stressed cyber teams need to get in the warfighting formations “and they need to get out there yesterday … and you need to send your very best people because they need to be reliable and credible upon arrival, they need to describe to commanders what they offer.”
Cyber teams that are incorporated into formation