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Hullabaloo


Saturday, June 21, 2014

 
Nice work if you can get it

by digby

Hey, a guy's got to make a buck:

As the four-star general in charge of U.S. digital defenses, Keith Alexander warned repeatedly that the financial industry was among the likely targets of a major attack. Now he’s selling the message directly to the banks.

Joining a crowded field of cyber-consultants, the former National Security Agency chief is pitching his services for as much as $1 million a month. The audience is receptive: Under pressure from regulators, lawmakers and their customers, financial firms are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into barriers against digital assaults.

Alexander, who retired in March from his dual role as head of the NSA and the U.S. Cyber Command, has since met with the largest banking trade groups, stressing the threat from state-sponsored attacks bent on data destruction as well as hackers interested in stealing information or money.
[...]
Alexander, 62, said in the interview he was invited to give a talk to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, known as Sifma, shortly after leaving the NSA and starting his firm, IronNet Cybersecurity Inc. He has met with other finance groups including the Consumer Bankers Association, the Financial Services Roundtable and The Clearing House.

At the sessions, Alexander discussed destructive computer programs such as Wiper, which the U.S. government said was notable because attacks using it appeared to originate from North Korea and Iran. “I told them I did think they could defend against that,” Alexander said.

Gosh, you'd think that information wouldn't be public. Now North Korean and Iranian hackers know what we know and everything's all ruined.

This, however, is hilarious:

Still, despite the banks’ growing investments in computer security, Alexander said, “many of them aren’t really confident they’re getting their money’s worth.”
The ex-NSA chief is leasing office space from Promontory Financial Group LLC, a Washington consultancy that focuses on the banking industry. Eugene Ludwig, Promontory’s founder and chief executive officer, joined Alexander at a meeting with Sifma, Wall Street’s largest lobby group.

Alexander offered to provide advice to Sifma for $1 million a month, according to two people briefed on the talks. The asking price later dropped to $600,000, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the negotiation was private.
Alexander declined to comment on the details, except to say that his firm will have contracts “in the near future.”
[...]
There are a lot of very high-caliber people that have served in public positions who bring a tremendous amount of expertise that our industry or other industries can benefit from. General Alexander is certainly one of those people,” Bentsen said.

Golly what information could possibly be worth a million dollars a month do you suppose?

But don't worry, everything Alexander knows will only benefit the average American like you and me. There's no reason to suspect that he is trading his high level of inside knowledge to benefit a bunch of rich people all around the globe. Because patriotism.


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