The National Security Agency has sought the help of professional hackers to render the World Wide Web more secure.
Reports from the PCWorld and Reuters indicate that General Keith B Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, sought the help of hackers while addressing the Defcon hacker conference in Las Vegas Friday.
"This is the world's best cybersecurity community," Alexander said in a speech at the conference. "In this room right here is the talent our nation needs to secure cyberspace," PCWorld reported.
Urging a collaborative approach to secure the cyberspace, Alexander, who is also head of the U.S. Cyber Command and Central Security Service, urged hackers to partner with government and industry to realize the objective.
"You know that we can protect networks and have civil liberties and privacy, and you can help us get there," he said, stating that hackers can educate others who do not understand cybersecurity.
The rare courtship of the NSA chief and hackers seems to have come on the heels of increased cyberattacks against U.S. cyberinfrastructure. The PCWorld report cited a 17-fold increase in cyberattacks reported against the federal government between 2009 and 2011.
Alexander urged the hacker community to continue building better tools that were needed to protect the cyberspace, citing examples of Metasploit and other penetration testing tools, PCWorld added.
"The issue is that if you don't see a cyberattack, you can't defend against it, and, at the moment, the NSA has no insight if Wall Street is going to be attacked, for example," Alexander rued, seeking hackers' support in defending the nation against cyberattacks.
Urging cooperation from the industry, Alexander called on the corporate to share at least limited pieces of information from their intrusion detection systems in real-time so that the NSA could follow up such instances of aberration.
Alexander stressed the joint evolution of standards post-information sharing as the key to secure critical infrastructure and sensitive networks.
Alexander's presence at the Defcon was hailed as a rare occurrence as Jeff Moss, founder of Defcon, revealed that he had tried for 20 years to get a high-ranking NSA official to speak at the conference.
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