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GCN : December 2012
18 GCN DECEMBER 2012 • GCN.COM Since its inception, the Internet has grown wild, which spurred innovation, activity and infor- mation sharing, but left security and standards unattended. The result is an online environment where outlaws can roam free. Now a multi-agency effort wants to impose a little order with a structured cyber "ecosys- tem" that could automatically assess and respond to threats, learn from previous incidents and even heal itself. Through a recent request for information issued in Septem- ber, the Homeland Security Department and the National Institute of Standards and Tech- nology are examining the cur- rent state of technology and the advances needed to create what they call a healthy and resilient system capable of using a defen- sive concept called Automated Collective Action. The goal is a broad-based, multi-agency or even global system that could, through machine learning and automated information sharing, detect, mitigate and respond to threats while maintaining mis- sion-critical operations. "We need automation be- cause we are being attacked in an automated fashion and we need to respond in an automat- ed fashion" said a DHS official. In addition to determining how --- and if --- technology can provide the interoperability, automation and authentication necessary to enable this capa- bility, one of the key questions being considered is where hu- Despite many hurdles, the field of automated security systems is ripe for action, experts say HOW TO DESIGN A NETWORK THAT FIGHTS FOR ITSELF BY WILLIAM JACKSON BUILDING BLOCKS FOR A CYBER ECOSYSTEM Development of a security ecosystem would start where continuous monitoring for vulnerabilities is today, while the end- state would advance to include automated responses, with broad-based threat and incident monitoring, data dissemination, threat analysis, and coordination of preventive actions. According to the Reitinger paper, the three building blocks identified in the paper as necessary to enable such a system are: + AUTOMATION, which would enable the system and devices connected with it to respond at machine speeds based on conditions being monitored and data being gathered in near-real time.