Former NSA Director Charging $1 Million a Month to Reveal US Intelligence Methods. Gen. Keith Alexander, who recently retired from his position at the top of the National Security Agency, is reportedly meeting with top brass from the financial industry to discuss how to best protect sensitive information, and he’s likely to charge them a million dollars a month for that advice.
Alexander served as the director of the NSA from 2005 until March 28, 2014, quietly leading the largest U.S. cyber-espionage and surveillance agency until his tenure was shaken a year ago by the unauthorized leak of tens of thousands of classified documents by former contractor Edward Snowden. Alexander, who had spent years trying to convince lawmakers that the NSA needed a higher budget, has consistently maintained that major banks and financial institutions are highly vulnerable to cyber-criminals and foreign hackers. That message seems to have resonated, with Alexander finding early success with his new consultancy firm, IronNet Cybersecurity Inc.
Along with Alexander’s dire predictions, top firms are under pressure from industry regulators and customers weary of hearing about major companies (including the likes of Target and U.S. Steel) losing sensitive personal information to unknown thieves. The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, the Consumer Bankers Association and the Financial Services Roundtable have already inquired about IronNet’s services, according to Bloomberg.
“It would be devastating if one of our major banks was hit, because they’re so interconnected,” the retired four-star general warned. [Read more: Stone/InternationalBusinessTim
Phi Beta Iota: From 1994 NSA refused to comply with Presidential directives and Legislative expectations that it would protect US private sector communications and computing. NSA chose instead to deliberately undermine the security of all major telecommunications and computing capabilities providers, often with childist backdoors that were discovered and exploited by others. NSA does not have a legislative charter. Multiple national-level initiatives are needed, none of which NSA or Cyber-Command is competent at meeting.
First, we need a national drive toward open source everything across all software, hardware, and data, including a variation of Admiral James Stavrides call for Open Source Security — all data should be secure (private but not secret) at all point in its existence.
Second, we need a Center for Computational Mathematics, perhaps modeled after the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC) managed by Admiral Bobby Inman, but focused on making transparent and testing all algorithms including those of the flash mob at Wall Street.
Third, we need restore the Constitution — particular the right to be protected from unwarranted search and seizure, and we need to remind all corporations such as Google that they operate under public charters — those public charters should be the basis for slamming the secret world back into its box and terminating 95% of all specious secret surveillance orders.
Fourth, because Cyber is the lifeblood of the nation in the 21st Century, we need to put intelligence and integrity back into cyber. Congressional hearings are needed on the need for an Open Source Agency, the elimination of the DNI and the creation of a Smart Nation that on the one hand restores the DCI and the centrality of human intelligence and all-source analysis, and on the other , by with and through multinational and multiagency networks, strives to connect all citizens with all information in all languages all the time.