DHS, Michigan team on cybersecurity

Michigan agrees to use a federally developed network flow monitoring system in first-of-a-kind agreement

The Homeland Security Department today said Michigan is deploying DHS’ Einstein 1 network flow monitoring system across the state's cyber networks in a first-of-a-kind DHS partnership with a state government.

Under the agreement, DHS’ U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team will identify possible abnormal activities on Michigan’s networks and deal with threats to critical computer infrastructure, the department said in announcing the partnership. DHS is in charge of protection the civilian .gov domain and interfaces with non-federal partners on cybersecurity efforts.

Federal agencies have used Einstein 1 for several years, and a more advanced version of the system, Einstein 2 – an intrusion detection system – is being deployed at civilian agencies. The DHS and Michigan partnership only uses Einstein 1, according to today’s announcement.

“This proof of concept will benefit Michigan’s cybersecurity interests by further enhancing its ability to identify and resolve a greater range of threats to its cyber infrastructure in coordination with a broad range of federal government entities,” said Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat. “It will enable greater federal and state coordination to promote mutual cybersecurity interests and, if successful, will inform the efforts of state governments to enhance their own cybersecurity efforts,” she added.

In the past, DHS has said it envisions deploying a third version of Einstein that would be an intrusion prevention system across civilian networks and systems. The department said the enhancement would give the government better situational awareness and that it has measures in place to ensure the protection of privacy and civil liberties. Meanwhile, such a plan to develop and use more advanced technology has raised privacy and civil liberties concerns.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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