Justice plans cloud monitoring program

Tucked in the Department of Justice's fiscal year 2020 budget request is $2 million for a small program that will boost cybersecurity threat monitoring in the agency's networks and expand detection and response to the cloud.

Countering a growing threat, particularly from China's economic and "non-traditional" espionage against U.S. interests, "is … our highest priority," Attorney General William Barr said when asked by Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) about the agency's cybersecurity operations and budget. The $2 million for the program is a drop in the bucket of the agency's $29.2 billion budget request, but officials said it would reap outsized results.

The $2 million "will really have a bang for its buck, " said Lee Lofthus, assistant attorney general for administration at the department, who testified alongside Barr at the hearing. "It's money put into the Justice Security Operations Center [JSOC] that allows us to protect our own networks from intrusions and malware. It's really important that the agencies protect their own networks."

Barr included a mention of the program in his written statement as part of a large effort to address cyber, counterintelligence and counterterrorism at the agency.

According to the agency's budget documentation, the $2 million program would protect high-value assets and information in agency data centers, as well as data that resides beyond on-premises networks in the cloud.

The program would allow the JSOC to extend sensors deeper into the agency's network architecture, integrate "behavior-based sensors at strategic network locations" and extend its detection and response capabilities beyond on-premises networks to " wherever our data resides."

This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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