Businesses could use U.S. cyber monitoring system. A U.S. government computer security system that can detect and prevent cyber attacks should be extended to private businesses that operate critical utilities and financial services, a top Pentagon official said May 26. The Deputy Defense Secretary said discussions are in the very early stages and participation in the program would be voluntary. The idea, he said, would allow businesses to take advantage of the Einstein 2 and Einstein 3 defensive technologies that are being developed to put in place on government computer networks. Extending the program to the private sector raises a myriad of legal, policy and privacy questions, including how it would work and what information, if any, companies would share with the government about any attacks or intrusions they detect. Businesses that opt not the participate could “stay in the wild, wild west of the unprotected Internet,” the secretary told a small group of reporters during a cybersecurity conference. And in the case of Einstein 2 — an automated system that monitors federal Internet and e-mail traffic for malicious activity — companies already may have equal or superior protections on their networks.

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