Sharing cyber threat details not antitrust violation, U.S. says

WASHINGTON Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:04pm EDT

Participants from government ministries and agencies take part in the Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence (CYDER) in Tokyo September 25, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Participants from government ministries and agencies take part in the Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence (CYDER) in Tokyo September 25, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Toru Hanai

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government on Thursday urged companies to share information with each other about cyber threats and issued guidance making clear that doing so would not violate antitrust laws.

The new push comes as many top retailers and other companies have suffered major data breaches. Most recently, the "Heartbleed" bug was found to have exposed personal data to hackers, prompting Facebook Inc, Google and others to take steps to mitigate the impact on their users.

"Legitimate cyber threat sharing can help secure the nation's networks," James Cole, the No. 2 official at the U.S. Justice Department, told reporters in a briefing on new guidance the agency issued along with the Federal Trade Commission.

If companies don't discuss competitive information such as pricing or output when sharing cybersecurity details, they will not run afoul of antitrust laws, the head of the Justice Department's antitrust division, Bill Baer, said.

Cole said he had heard concerns from some companies that they felt restricted in sharing details of cyber threats with others because of antitrust concerns, but declined to name the companies or discuss specific problems that had arisen.

Better sharing of cyber threat information among companies as well as between the private sector and the government have been a top concern in the U.S. government's effort to bolster the cyber defenses of the nation's critical industries.

As part of the effort, President Barack Obama last year signed an executive order, making it easier for companies to access data about online threats that is held by the government, among other things.

The government in February also introduced standards meant to help companies in nationally critical industries better defend against cyber attacks, though it is unclear how widely the voluntary measures are being adopted.

Several high-profile breaches this year have put a spotlight on corporate cybersecurity, particularly the massive theft of about 40 million payment card records plus 70 million other records, including addresses and phone numbers, belonging to customers of No. 3 retailer Target Corp.

(Reporting by Aruna Viswanatha and Alina Selyukh; editing by Andrew Hay)

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Comments (1)
edev wrote:
The problem is instead of the USA putting money into education, like they did when the USSR launched the first satellite sputnik with the National Defense Technology and Science loans, they have opened the doors to India, China, and XYZ to send their high-tech people here to build the systems. Not only was this terrible because India and the like just took their high caste members and sent them to what amounts to paper mills, but the intelligence agencies of these countries saw this movement and pounced on it. The entire situation from private entities to the military has been corrupted and infiltrated by these actors to such a high degree that a quick resolution to this situation cannot be attained. Now that USA is breaking their own laws and constitution by letting the N$A record every detail of what is done on the net, they have lost the trust of the people to such a high degree that no one wants their help, and legislation to help these companies has been sidelined. Not only that but the N$A in generally is just a bunch of script kiddies trained for two years on how to execute metasploit modules. Just like most other gov. agencies they do not surpass the level of incompetence which other agencies have attained. Just look at 9.11 and the Boston attacks, Russia even told them, its just gotten to the point where Government is plain incompetent in most everything, and especially in high technology sectors they are still in 1995.

Apr 10, 2014 5:58pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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