einstein-laughingShort Bytes: The U.S. government is working on a firewall named EINSTEIN intrusion detection system that is expected to keep the federal agencies safe from cyber attacks. However, even after spending a whopping sum of about $6 billion, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is unable to device a system that can perform basic network security tasks.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has spent about $6 billion on a firewall named EINSTEIN intrusion detection system. Officially known as the National Cybersecurity Protection System, the firewall is being developed with an intention to protect the U.S. government agencies against the malicious cyber attacks.

However, according to a report that was just released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the new age EINSTEIN is not much smart. In this report, it was highlighted that the system was “partially meeting its stated system objectives.” In simple language, it does pretty much nothing. For those who don’t know, GAO is the auditing arm of Congress that works to improve the performance of projects and systems for the benefit of people.

Before telling you about the loopholes, let me take you back to the start. EINSTEIN was created long back in 2003 for intrusion detection by automatically analyzing the federal network’s traffic. Later in 2009 and 2013, upgraded version of the software was released with some improvements.

The GPO report suggests that the system, which has cost $5.7 billion to develop, does not even monitor web content for malicious content. Wait, there’s more to this story — it doesn’t uncover malware on a system, it doesn’t monitor the cloud services, it’s open to zero-day attacks, and the list goes on.

If you try to assess the job of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the project’s supervisor, it hasn’t used any measure to analyze the system’s performance. While there were about 23 agencies that were needed to implement this system to monitor their traffic, it was found that only 5 agencies were routing ‘some’ traffic to ‘protect’ themselves from intrusion.

Notably, President Obama has included a $14 billion cybersecurity share in his 2016 budget. While he has already called cyberthreats a national emergency, it would be interesting to see how this allocation is spent to improve the cybersecurity measures.

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