What is cyber surveillance

US plans cyber surveillance

The US defense company Raytheon has secured a contract worth up to 100 million US dollars for the implementation, reports the Wall Street Journal, citing insiders. The system developed for the National Security Agency (NSA) is intended to use sensors in networks to warn of unusual cyber activities. "Intrusion prevention is extremely important in critical infrastructure. It is probably best if a government introduces standards in this regard and plays an active role," said Sean Sullivan, Security Advisor at F-Secure, in an interview with pressetext. He doubts that the safeguard against cyber attacks poses a great risk to privacy.

The background to Perfect Citizen is that the US government wants to ensure that infrastructure that is important for national security is also protected virtually as effectively as possible. This continues cybersecurity efforts under the Obama administration that were launched under George W. Bush. In 2008, the then US Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, underscored their importance by stating that "cyberattacks are as devastating as 9-11".

According to Sullivan, it is undisputed that state-driven cyber defense systems make sense for critical areas. It's not just about active hacker attacks. "Just consider how quickly Conficker has spread. Such a worm can reappear. Just imagine if it attacks critical infrastructure," explains the expert. This is precisely what Perfect Citizen is supposed to protect in the USA.

The new monitoring system is particularly intended for large, mostly older computer systems that control subways, flight safety or even nuclear power plants. These systems were often only connected to the Internet at a later date in order to make them more efficient. "Such systems are usually very specialized and hardly allow personal use," says Sullivan. Accordingly, the risk to the privacy of users is low. Theoretically, it is more conceivable that undesirable inside information about companies is collected, according to the expert.

According to a military representative, the Perfect Citizen system will in any case not represent a greater breach in privacy than the traffic surveillance cameras already tolerated by the public. According to official information, companies cannot be forced to participate. As an incentive for cooperation, it is of course emphasized that the data collected can also be used if the NSA is to help investigate attacks on a company. (pte / cvi)