Einstein … Say Aaah!

As the article points out, Einstein is the name of the system that the U.S. government has created “… to protect [its] computer networks from cyberspies.” Apparently, the development and rollout of the system “… is being stymied by technical and privacy concerns.” No wonder Einstein is sticking out his tongue. Ironically, the photograph was taken during the McCarthy era, and was seemingly a political statement. Today it can be construed as the Einstein system perhaps mocking those who would quash it. For despite the delays caused by concerns over privacy and unlawful surveillance, the system ploughs forward with a planned Einstein 3 in the offing.

Let’s just go back a little to explain the differences among the three versions of Einstein. In many ways they somewhat parallel infosec’s evolution of firewalls, IDS (intrusion detection systems), and IPS (intrusion prevention systems). According to the article, Einstein 1 merely monitors traffic in and out of federal civilian networks. Einstein 2, which is currently being built, is intended to detect cyberattacks and produce immediate alerts. Einstein 3, which is apparently in the planning phase, will “deflect” security attacks that are detected.

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