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Obama Stimulus Pours Millions Into Cyber Security 156

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-they-need-it dept.
nandemoari writes "As his administration continues to work on a stimulus plan that can save America's economy, Obama's latest course of action will see millions of dollars being allocated to heighten cyber security. The move will assist government officials in preventing future attacks on the United States. The President recently addressed his 2010 budget, outlining funding plans that will grant the Department of Homeland Security $355 million to secure the nation's most essential computer systems. The money will be spent on both government and private groups, with much of the funding going to the National Cyber Security Division and the Comprehensive National Cyber Security Initiative programs."
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Obama Stimulus Pours Millions Into Cyber Security

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  • Frist (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 02, 2009 @11:50AM (#27040625)

    "The money will be spent on both government and private groups, with much of the funding going to the National Cyber Security Division and the Comprehensive National Cyber Security Initiative programs."

    In other words, millions of your tax dollars will be spent paying glorified security guards to sit on P2p networks all day looking for copyright infringers and kiddy porn. As if the FBI needed any competition. What, did you think they were actually saving America from terrorists?

    • Re:Frist (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BigHungryJoe (737554) on Monday March 02, 2009 @12:00PM (#27040759) Homepage

      Here is my problem with the p2p babysitting -

      what guidelines will they be using to determine what is child porn and what is not?

      Some of the recent "child model" busts seem to be pushing the limit of what can be called "child porn". It's almost as if they're widening the definition of child porn so they'll have more people to bust.

      • Re:Frist (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Shakrai (717556) on Monday March 02, 2009 @12:06PM (#27040825) Journal

        It's almost as if they're widening the definition of child porn so they'll have more people to bust.

        Call me cynical but I don't think they care about having "more people" to bust. The Man isn't out to get us. The Man is out to generate splashy headlines and get elected to higher office. Nothing generates splasher headlines than "Think of the Children!"

        • Re:Frist (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 02, 2009 @12:32PM (#27041135)

          I wouldn't call you cynical for that viewpoint, I'd call you naive.

          Of course the "Man" is looking for more people to bust - law enforcement is a huge industry worth billions of dollars, and like all industries, it is seeking to grow itself. And in law enforcement, how do you grow your market and secure jobs? You create more criminals.

          • Re:Frist (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Hojima (1228978) on Monday March 02, 2009 @01:47PM (#27042093)

            Did any of you even read the summary? Does anyone here even know the jurisdiction of the department of homeland security? Just to clarify something for any of you presumptuous douche bags, this has to do with the Slashdot articles that you have read (assuming you've even looked at the title) that involve China and highly sensitive US data gone missing. This is to protect that data and any intrusion that could happen in the future. Quite frankly, it's embarrassing that anyone managed to get a hold of that data, and it better not happen on this president's watch.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by tjonnyc999 (1423763)
            Quote related.

            "Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against--then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it.

            There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, whe
        • Re:Frist (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Monday March 02, 2009 @12:39PM (#27041221) Homepage Journal

          Call me cynical but I don't think they care about having "more people" to bust.

          I disagree with that point.

          They're obviously not catching a lot of terrorists so they need other numbers to justify their budget. They get their numbers by picking the low-hanging fruit after broadening the definition of "low-hanging" fruit, especially if it goes "across state lines", which almost all internet traffic does.

          "The Man is out to generate splashy headlines and get elected to higher office. Nothing generates splasher headlines than "Think of the Children!"

          True, and it's convenient for both law enforcement seeking bigger budgets and politicians seeking advancement. It's not convenient for your 16 year old son or daughter who has to register as a sex offender for life because they stored nekkid pics of themselves on their cell phone or computer.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Nothing generates splasher headlines than "Think of the Children!"

          I thought the whole problem was caused by thinking about the children.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by b4upoo (166390)

        America has gone crazy over the sex crimes issue.
                      There is one city in Palm Beach County, Fl. that has restricted the areas in which sex offenders can live so severely that every offender in the city lives under the same bridge. That is the only spot that is more than 1500 ft. from a school in the entire city. But controlling where offenders live has not helped reduce sex crimes even by a fraction of one per cent.

        • by sumdumass (711423)

          I think the point of that restriction was to bully them into moving to another city. It's not necessarily about stopping sex crimes as much as stopping them near you.

      • That would remind me of how Stalin always found new groups of people to send to the gulags, by widening the definition of [insert random word meaning what we nowadays call "terrorists"].
        He had to, because people in the gulags were "consumed". They died so quick that the government could not get new people quick enough.

        But what would be the reason here?

      • by couchslug (175151)

        "what guidelines will they be using to determine what is child porn and what is not?"

        Sophisticated TLAR (That Looks About Right) age guesstimation technigues and IOA (Inspecting Official Arousal) metrics will ensure fair and unbiased content review.

    • They're attempting to secure the economic systems and the critical infrastructure around that so they can maintain and increase the inequality between the rich and the poor without losing control of the citizenry.

      We need a meltdown, and the only reason he's there is to prevent it.

    • by Tuoqui (1091447)

      In other words...

      They're going to spend millions of dollars on some new routers and STILL leave critical systems connected to the internet or systems which can access critical systems leaving them vulnerable to cyber attack despite any increased security.

      Like they say about corporate networks. Tough on the outside, gooey on the inside. That's exactly whats going to happen with this 'stimulus'

    • Re:Frist (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Monday March 02, 2009 @12:38PM (#27041211) Homepage
      The fact that this has been modded to +5 is prima facia evidence that Slashdot has gone way down hill. Simply googling National Cyber Security Division will show that they are behind US-CERT [wikipedia.org]. While they are not to be confused with CERT, but they do have the same stated objectives. Computer Emergency Response Teams are the bedrock of Computer Security. They don't monitor Internet traffic, they identify security issues and offer solutions. Taking the recent Obama Helicopter P2P fiasco as an example, they would point out that running P2P without verifying the Sharing settings are not exposing your whole system is a Bad Thing(tm).
    • by b4upoo (166390)

      There are already some pretty fair computer specialists working in this capacity for the government. Hiring a few more might actually help increase national security. Some civilian specialists are attached to the military or agencies such as NSA.

  • by tcopeland (32225) <tom&thomasleecopeland,com> on Monday March 02, 2009 @11:53AM (#27040671) Homepage

    ...announces the Hope'N'Change Operating System [thepeoplescube.com]. "Only 30% chance of crashing!"

    • "...announces the Hope'N'Change Operating System. "Only 30% chance of crashing!""

      It is obviously another Mojave experiment [mojaveexperiment.com] ;-)

    • ...but does it run on Linux?

  • Here's an idea... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sunking2 (521698) on Monday March 02, 2009 @11:59AM (#27040745)
    How about stimulating jobs that actually produce something that others might want? Oh wait, we don't do that anymore so the best we can do is deficit spend and divy out the money to a bunch of service industries. Might as well just allocate $500 million for the waitresses and valets parking stimulus.
    • by tcopeland (32225) <tom&thomasleecopeland,com> on Monday March 02, 2009 @12:04PM (#27040811) Homepage

      > How about stimulating jobs that actually produce something that others might want?

      Fool! You've got it all wrong! I refer you to Iowahawk's Memo to America's Irresponsible Tea Party Whiners: STFU [typepad.com]. A sample:

      The most ludicrous aspect of these protesters is their utter lack of understanding that the mortgage bailout benefits everyone - even them. Let me explain to these unpatriotic whiners how the economy works: The money that government is now wisely investing in our mortgage system will free up billions of extra dollars in spending by Americans like me, which will directly create jobs. For you economic illiterates, this is what experts call the "multiplier effect."

      For example, now that my mortgage worries are over, I was able to afford the down payment on a sweet new jet ski, directly creating jobs at Coralville Kawasaki. I also purchased a few items from my friend and local small business entrepreneur Randy Hansgard. Randy used that money to make high tech capital improvements in his business, like new grow-lights and an Ohaus 3-beam electronic scale. After I wrecked the jet ski, this created jobs at the Coralville Kawasaki service department. I also splurged by sending Linda a thoughtful Jenny Craig gift certificate with my partial January mortgage payment, because she's really been packing on the pounds lately.

      See how it works? Now, go pay more taxes!

    • "Router to nowhere" jokes? or should that be "Layer 3 switch to nowhere" I can't decide, but in view of the Psion news, we should remember that "bridge to nowhere" has already been taken.

      BTW: Anyone know where to _BUY_ a Psion Netbook?

  • by kaaona (252061)

    I'm curious to know what critical cyber security projects or activities are "shovel ready" and awaiting funding...

    • I'm curious to know what critical cyber security projects or activities are "shovel ready" and awaiting funding...

      Hopefully, "shovel-ready" means those projects are ready to be dead and buried, for a change.

  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Monday March 02, 2009 @12:05PM (#27040813)
    Obama's campaign was approached in the fall of 2008 by the NSA, to let him and Axelrod know that either the Chinese or the Russians hacked his campaign systems.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections/article5105027.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

    So, he knows what he's up against. If you run any sort of port knocker or ssh logging at a target IP range, you know that near round the clock brute forcing is going on by Chinese networks. They now are distributing the problem into botnets to prevent being blackholed, but they continue at it.

    Obama has Janet Napolitano to run this group. They will work with US-CERT, but their mandate should be defense, not offense. They could start by approaching the US Tier-1 providers and saying, in essence, we want to use tools from companies like Arbor Networks and others that track botnets to isolate better signatures and reject them at the national perimeter, sort of an IDP at the edge of major networks.

    The NSA probably has access to all domestic US websites encryption keys, at least the ones that come from Verisign. So, inspect all encrypted traffic headed back to Chinese networks, on any port. If you can't decrypt it, consider it hostile. Shunt it.

    I may get modded down as flamebait, probably by Chinese slashdot readers - but the fact is, we are at war with the Chinese.
    • by scubamage (727538) on Monday March 02, 2009 @12:19PM (#27040975)
      War in the conventional sense is the incorrect term. New cold war is more like it - and sadly this time we are completely out-gunned. The US has spent so much time dumbing down its educational system, ignoring math and sciences in lieu of budget increases to school sports, and completely ignoring the fact that college loans are the second leading cause of bankruptcy in the US (and you can't escape them through bankruptcy!). An educated populace is the only thing we could use to win a technical cold war. And we ain't got it.
      • by steelfood (895457)

        Well, there's this huge body of technologically-inclined people in China and India... oh wait...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cdrguru (88047)

        Problem with education is that it isn't really the system's fault. Since the Apollo program ended in the 70s it hasn't been "cool" to try to do well in school, be motivated towards science and math, etc. The education system has for the most part recognized this and is trying to stay relevent to the current generation. Too bad, really.

        You see, in their striving for "relevence" they pretty much accepted the idea that the education system is a waste of time for most of the people in it. OK, not every chil

        • by AP31R0N (723649)

          i suggest separating the smart kids from the not so smart. The jocks can bully each other, the vapid cheerleaders can be catty and leave the kids with potential to learn w/o fear. i might have earned better grades if i hadn't been avoiding being called a nerd. Germany does this and it works pretty well. i'd be in favor of such a system esp. if it understood the difference between smart and gets-good-grades/likes-doing-homework.

          America IS ardently anti-intellectual, and we're anti-anyone-doing-better-or-

      • by Atario (673917)

        Well, we can't have an educated populace. After all:

        • An educated populace is harder to trick into going along with stupid ideas in general
        • A real education tends to include things like civics, economics, and critical thinking, which will only make it worse, and need I mention the specter of the dread Darwinian EVILution?
        • Paying for all that education as an investment in the public good is going to mean providing it via government, which takes away a profit opportunity, which is the kind of thing that would b
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      And we're definitely not just throwing money down a black hole: among other things, this sort of project could easily lead to some improvements to SELinux.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FiloEleven (602040)

        ...which just goes to show you exactly why horrible ideas like bailouts & stimulus can survive. "Well, as long as I might get a slice..."

        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          But it's not just me getting a slice, it's the collective knowledge of the open source community and anyone else who wants it. It's turning deficit spending into tangible benefits, which is at least as useful as turning deficit spending into CEO bonuses.

          • Oh I agree with you there - I wasn't trying to paint you as a selfish bastard or anything =) It's just not the place of government to fund things like that, and it's made even more onerous for being deficit spending. It may have a greater benefit to the collective knowledge than giving CEO bonuses, but there is still a net loss even if it's hidden behind taxes, debt, and/or inflation.

    • Obama's campaign was approached in the fall of 2008 by the NSA, to let him and Axelrod know that either the Chinese or the Russians hacked his campaign systems.

      I'm not affiliated with any such group, but I did drop by campaign offices in the early part of the summer. I commented to three very separate people on the weaknesses I saw and that the systems would get cracked and approximately when (+/- 1 week). I contacted two of them after the breaches made the news. So far not even one has responded to my finely worded Told You So, accompanied by links to the news articles.

      Just to pick a random vulnerability, the staffers did not appear to have Samba [webdav.org] or even We [webdav.org]

  • PC? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by micronicos (344307)

    No-one's mentioned the Chinese governments vast expenditure on active (read - aggressive) cybersecurity - is it not PC anymore to say this?

    I'm in London UK & all for your US nerds defending our cyber frontiers 'cos we certainly can't! BO rocks!

    • Re:PC? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Hordeking (1237940) on Monday March 02, 2009 @12:34PM (#27041157)

      BO rocks!

      Actually, America has a BO problem at the moment. Don't be fooled. Adding a lump of sugar to the poison doesn't make any less poisonous.

      FYI, GW did this as well. Every president is going to do some things right, and a lot of them wrong.

      Never forget, the goal of the presidents since the USA were founded has been to expand their own power. BHO will be no different in this respect.

      • by brkello (642429)
        Except when the presidents do things to limit their own power. Not every president is as horrible as GW. They tried to expand the power of the executive branch way too far. Of course, they always see the mistake of this when the other party gets in to office.

        Right now we don't have a BO problem. We have an economy that is failing. You may have an opinion on a solution that differs from BO. But it is hard to know if what he is doing is wrong or right since economic policy is extremely complex even f
  • I am a Database guru. Yes, I know myself and have worked on countless DB systems mostly on the west coast.

    Question is: While I know I have a shot at this do I have a chance to be considered for one of these cyber security jobs? I would not mind even if I am on the not so fancy team.

    I am kind of tired of the same-old, same-old routine.

    • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Monday March 02, 2009 @12:26PM (#27041061) Homepage

      "Yes, I know myself ..."

      Well your a step ahead of me. I'm still waiting to meet myself.

    • by will_die (586523)
      If you have a U.S. security clearance then probably yes.
      Plenty of jobs for DBAs with a security clearance all along the west coast.

      As for getting the security clearance that is the problem, if you cannot find a job in your local market that will hire people who are just eligible for clearance then there is not much chance of getting one.
    • I'd say yes - in my experience folks don't enter the infosec industry trained as a security engineer. Or at least up to this point, that's rare. Instead, most security teams (including the one I work on) are built with sysadmins, network engineers, code monkeys, web developers and dba's (and a few blackhat script kiddies) that have a particular passion for defending data, networks and endpoints.

      Unfortunately, with this decade's increased focus on security I fear we'll soon have a glut of paper CISSP's that

  • Weak Postulate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 02, 2009 @12:15PM (#27040919)

    As an AC no one will ever see this comment, but I have to say it anyway.

    The summary: "As his administration continues to work on an stimulus plan that can save America's economy.." makes it sound as if this is an accepted postulate, but nothing could be further from the truth. Many economists (and others) have serious doubts that such a stimulus package can "save" anything. And while economics is anything but intuitive, one does wonder how borrowing a trillion or so dollars -- at interest -- will work towards putting the economy "back on track."

    • The same way every other loan works.

      By spending on capital now, you can leverage your potential to pay it back plus pocket profit in the future.

      What is with the right wing of our population suddenly becoming stupid to basic business management?

      "A loan just has to be payed back in the future it's useless."
      "A deficit is just an equal tax on the future and in the long term is nothing but damaging to the economy."
      "The government borrowing is just putting off the inevitable."

      The economy will inevitably bounce ba

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheSync (5291)

        The idea is that we have underutilized resources that need to be employed in order to maximize our current capacity.

        What if we have too much capacity right now? Perhaps that capacity should be eradicated. Do we need as many car companies, financial firms, etc. as we do now? Only the market knows. Perhaps the stimulus will only maintain corporations that should downsize or go out of business.

        It's like my college loan. I couldn't afford college so I took out a loan. Then once I used my college education t

  • by Windrip (303053) on Monday March 02, 2009 @12:16PM (#27040941) Journal

    The money will go to $5.00/hr bidders on RentACoder. There's no incentive in this bill to keep the money in the US

    • by dbcad7 (771464)
      Where do you read that this money will go overseas ? .. wouldn't fly IMHO, with the new showing where the money goes web site thingy.
  • by EQ (28372) on Monday March 02, 2009 @12:26PM (#27041077) Homepage Journal

    For example: "stimulus plan that can save America's economy"

    "can"? That remains to be seen, and many say it will not. Try being less of a cheerleader and tell the truth. "may save" is a better selection, and much closer to the truth, given several hundred prominent economists (and the CBO) have said this "stimulus" may end up hurting the economy due to the wasteful "political repayment" spending and huge debt load it contains.

    Per the CBO a recovery, albeit slow, is predicted for later this year even were no "stimulus" package passed.

    Go read up on the Nixon-Ford-Carter economy that used similar big-government Keynesian methods to stimulate the economy, and ended up producing "stagflation", high interest rates, high unemployment and high inflation (the latter two both in double digits).

    Then go read Hazlitt and Hayek for why this Keynesian stuff doesn't work as intended.

    In engineering terms, most learned this lesson in statics and dynamics class: You cannot push a rope.

  • cyber? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender (156273) on Monday March 02, 2009 @12:29PM (#27041101) Homepage

    Of the $355 million, $36 million will be spent on improving sensor and surveillance systems that will protect the nation against potential biological attacks. Another $36 million will be spent on the development and installation of new long-range sensor systems that will be used by the U.S. Coast Guard.

    That's not "cyber"security at all! Cybersecurity would be pushing for signed DNS architecture, IPv6, and a DDoS mitigation infrastructure. Sonar and radar systems are physical security, not cyber security.

  • DHS? WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EQ (28372) on Monday March 02, 2009 @12:32PM (#27041131) Homepage Journal

    Why DHS? Talk about throwing money into a trash disposal.

    Why not NSA/CSS? They are already tasked with this and have budget. Plus they have produced viable useful solutions, SE-Linux for example. And they have competence, unlike the DHS, who seem more concerned with political correctness than securing the nation and the borders.

    This smells of political back-scratching, not a solution to a problem.

    Secondly how is this supposed to stimulate demand in the economy? Remember, that was the purpose of the huge debt load we just got saddled with.

    Watch for crony-contracts, and the money to not produce anything other than rich politically connected friends.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Bush did this to the Coast Guard. He gave DHS the money, shorted their budget, and then DHS made them an offer they can't refuse. I'll be interested to see if the NSA gets fully funded.

      If not, DHS will task the NSA, eventually. That's where all the brains are. If that's what's happening, this is Big Brother coming, fellas. Obama's starting to make me nervous, by supporting this monocultured, centralized structure. I want DHS disbanded and dismantled.

      But then again, Tolkien warned us what power does. As Fran

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Hordeking (1237940)

        But then again, Tolkien warned us what power does.

        Enlighten us. How did Tolkien warn us about power?

        I think a fitting quote, from John Dalberg, Baron of Acton: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it."

    • by aztektum (170569)

      Huge debt we "just got saddled with"? You haven't been paying attention much for oh, say the last 30 years. [zfacts.com]

      • by EQ (28372)

        Congress just bumped it up by almost double, in one month, what it took Bush 8 years to do, which was bad enough.

        And they did fiscally what Bush and Congress did with the Patriot Act - created a crisis atmosphere and rammed a bill through without proper scrutiny.

        Both were wrong.

      • by EQ (28372)

        Fyi - I said "debt load" not debt - you severely misquoted me, There is a difference. The former is what was added (the debt load contained in the spending bill), the latter is the sum total.

  • That's enough for TENS of jobs, or even twice that if they invest in tech school graduates instead of so-called 'experts'!

    Wa wa wee wa!!

  • I don't see why anybody with a network connection isn't running some sort of intrusion detection/prevention system whether it be hosted based or network based....this should especially include the government's systems as well. Snort is now included in quite a few of the specialized security distros. In fact I know of at least two distros that are specifically designed for IDS/IPS only and can be up and monitoring traffic in less than 30 minutes.

    EasyIDS: http://sourceforge.net/projects/easyids/ [sourceforge.net]
    Stratag
    • by cyriustek (851451)

      Some people with network connections do not bother running an IDS, as it is easily bypassed, and often offers little value added. Additionally, if one were to have an IDS, what good would it do you unless you are actually watching it, and tuning it? The staffing required for something like this on a national scale would be prohibitive.

      We also have to consider that to monitor all of the traffic with an IDS, you must have access to all of the traffic. Although we believe this is already occurring, you can be

    • Perhaps because IDS is almost worthless? The days of single-packet exploits seem to be nearly at an end. The only really worthwhile detection method we are seeing today is digging through network and application logs, checking them against blacklist, grep -v'ing away known-good stuff, and looking for unusual stuff. This means a really, intelligent human is required, not a bunch of Snort signatures looking for packet attacks which haven't been used since 1997.

  • by Spatial (1235392)
    It should be a fine production [wikipedia.org].
  • That'll be a _really_ secure version of SELinux.

  • The economy that is. Or rather, should it be saved? If it means we still have ridiculous copyright and patent laws on the books? Government granted monopoly of what should be public infrastructure (cable/data/phone lines)? No real barrier for lobbyists to buy off our politicians?

    Our economy woes are entirely thanks to big business and lazy, greedy politicians. What exactly do they want to "save"? They legislated and lobbied their way into a system that benefited them at the expense of true progress and the

  • One of the things that I hope this administration does is give money to CERT (or some other appropriate agency) to provide a free anti-virus product for everybody.

    Granted, it would have to be open-source so that we'd know that the gov't wasn't using it to snoop on us. But, unlike a typical open-source project, the gov't would pay a team to continually update the virus definitions and the source code.

    Now, I realize that there already are free anti-virus products out there, and some of them score very

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