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US government says threat information sharing could help network security

Washington urged companies to share data related to cyber threats with each other,u

By CBR Staff Writer

The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have urged companies to share data related to cyber threats, in a bid to bolster security for the nation’s networks.

In a recent policy statement both federal agencies stressed the importance of sharing cybersecurity information, insisting that properly designed systems would not violate antitrust concerns and would improve security, availability, integrity and efficiency.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole said that the Department of Justice is working to protect the security of the country’s networks.

"Through the FBI and the National Security and Criminal Divisions, the department plays a critical role in preventing and prosecuting cybercrime," Cole added.

"Private parties play a critical role in mitigating and responding to cyber threats, and this policy statement should encourage them to share cybersecurity information."

The latest push comes as several major retailers and other firms experienced major data breaches, with the recent ‘Heartbleed’ bug reportedly leaking personal data to hackers.

Speaking as part of the Antitrust Divison of the department, Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer said that cyber threats are increasingly numerous and sophisticated, and sharing incident reports, indicators and threat signatures is something companies can do to protect their information systems and help secure our nation’s infrastructure.

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"With proper safeguards in place, cyber threat information sharing can occur without posing competitive concerns," Baer added.

As part of efforts to bolster the cyber defences of the country’s critical industries, President Barack Obama signed an executive order last year to allow companies to access online threat data held by the government.

FTC Chairwoman Ramirez said: "This statement should help private businesses by making it clear that antitrust laws do not stand in the way of legitimate sharing of cybersecurity threat information."

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