U.S. banks ask NSA for cybersecurity help

Jan. 11, 2013 at 4:32 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. banks have asked the National Security Agency for help protecting computer systems after a slew of cyberattacks against their websites, officials said.

As the sophistication of the attacks has increased, major banks have turned to the NSA for technical assistance to help them analyze their systems and better understand attackers' tactics, The Washington Post reported Friday.

"If you look at [the government's] actions, they're taking this very seriously," one bank official told the Post.

"The government is stepping up to the plate," said the official, who asked not to be named because he wasn't authorized to speak for the record.

The NSA assistance has drawn the attention of privacy advocates, who've expressed concern over the world's largest electronic spying agency being given access private companies' systems, even under the express goal of improving computer security.

"The dual mission of the NSA, to promote security and to pursue surveillance, creates an intractable privacy problem," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

NSA declined to comment beyond a statement saying it provides assistance "in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations," the Post reported.

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