Report: US building system to detect cyber-attacks

A Wall Street Journal story reports that the NSA hopes to detect cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure

The U.S. National Security Agency is building a system that would help detect cyber-attacks on critical U.S. infrastructure, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal that cites unnamed sources.

The system would monitor both private U.S. companies and government agencies that operate infrastructure such as electricity grids and nuclear power plants, the story reports. It would use sensors placed in computer networks that would be triggered by activity signaling a cyber-attack.

The story says that Raytheon has won a contract for the first phase of the project that is worth US$100 million.

The NSA declined to comment on the report. Raytheon did not reply to a request for comment about the reported system. Neither commented publicly in the Wall Street Journal article.

The U.S. government is increasingly aware and wary of intrusions from overseas into public and private networks, particularly for the purpose of espionage. A report commissioned by a congressional advisory panel and released last year found that China is probably spying on U.S. companies and the government. The report found that at least 10 to 20 terabytes of sensitive data had been taken from U.S. government networks as part of a long-term campaign.

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