Government Introduces "Perfect Citizen"

The Wall Street Journal reports on a new computer network surveillance program being launched by the federal government. The project, dubbed "Perfect Citizen," will be led by the National Security Agency (NSA) who have already contracted defense heavyweights Raytheon for the project.

Perfect Citizen will use sensor-based surveillance tools to monitor computer networks, both private sector and government-operated, that connect the nation's critical infrastructure systems--including the power grid, nuclear plants, air traffic control and others--in an effort to detect and prevent serious cyber attacks.

According to The Wall Street Journal,

Perfect Citizen will look at large, typically older computer control systems that were often designed without Internet connectivity or security in mind. Many of those systems—which run everything from subway systems to air-traffic control networks—have since been linked to the Internet, making them more efficient but also exposing them to cyber attack.

The goal is to close the "big, glaring holes" in the U.S.'s understanding of the nature of the cyber threat against its infrastructure, said one industry specialist familiar with the program....

The information gathered by Perfect Citizen could also have applications beyond the critical infrastructure sector...serving as a data bank that would also help companies and agencies who call upon NSA for help with investigations of cyber attacks, as Google did when it sustained a major attack late last year.

We recently posted about the 60 MINUTES investigation into critical infrastructure security that not only declared the U.S. unprepared for cyber attacks on the infrastructure, but described how it was already being hacked.