NSA Developing Program to Detect Cyber-attacks: Report

The National Security Agency is reportedly launching a new program to protect against cyber-attacks targeting the country's critical infrastructure and government. However the program is also raising concerns, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Plans for a National Security Agency program to monitor for cyber-attacks against the public and private sector is already drawing concerns, according to a report.

According to the Wall Street Journal, plans for a program known as "Perfect Citizen" are being seen by some as an attempt by the NSA to get more deeply involved in domestic matters, while others believe it to be a necessary part of cyber-defense.

According to the Journal, Perfect Citizen will establish sensors across a variety of computer networks-including government agencies and private companies in the utility industry-to detect attacks. Defense contractor Raytheon has been given a contract to design the initial phase of the project. While a U.S. military official reportedly called the project long overdue, others questioned whether or not the program goes too far.

According to the Journal, Perfect Citizen will examine large, typically older computer control systems that may have been designed without Internet connectivity or security in mind. The goal is to get a better understanding of the cyber-threats against the country's infrastructure, one industry specialist familiar with the program reportedly said.

In a speech June 3, NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander-who is also head of the U.S. Cyber Command-called for the establishment of clear rules of engagement for cyberspace as the country deals with the prospect of "remote sabotage."

Increasingly, systems are being targeted for remote sabotage, he said, and dealing with the threats will require a "unity of effort" and "a commitment of dedicated resources."