Security operations centers: a first principle idea.

The CyberWire


The idea of operations centers has been around seemingly forever friedrich limb in his a history of western technology suggests that the concept goes back as far as five thousand bc amazing anytime an organization grows big enough either in terms of function or one. Small team can't do everything. Leaders have built these centers to men's the workflow and status of the various groups into coordinate. If you fast forward to the early days of the technological revolution we started seeing organizations. That began looking like a modern day sark. But we're quite there yet. The classic example is how nasa managed space missions starting way back in nineteen fifty eight now for those. Who don't know me. I'ma space geek specifically. I love everything about the space race between the russians and the americans during the nineteen sixties in fact as a side note the washington post lillian cunningham produced a thirteen episode podcasts. About that very thing last year it is called moon rise and i highly recommended. But did you know that when neil armstrong and buzz aldrin landed on the moon in nineteen sixty nine that the russians had a remote controlled spacecraft up there at the same time. I didn't know that. Until i listen to the moon rise podcasts. The russians crashed into a moon mountain as armstrong and aldrin. We're flying back to the lunar module so maybe that is why the russians don't advertise that much. But i digress. One of my favorite space movies is paolo. Thirteen directed by ron howard. And one of the things. I love about that. Movie is how it depicts the energy and sense of purpose of an operation center. Here's the actor. Ed harris in a virtuoso performance playing gene kranz the real life nasa flight director delegating tasks his crew of operational teams on what they need to do to get apollo thirteen at home. And the meantime whenever frozen command module to power it up another but the re entry batteries. We've been tried before we've never even stimulated it before gene. We're going to have to figure it out. i want people in our simulators working reentry scenarios. I want you guys to find. Every engineer designed ever switch every circuit transistor and every lightbulb. It's up there then. I want you to talk to the guy. Knee assembly line actually built the thing. Find out how to squeeze every aunt at both of these goddamn machines. I want this mark all the way back to earth with time to spare never lost an american in space where surest not gonna lose one on my watch. Failure is not an option. If that doesn't bring chills down your spine you might be dead. I'm just saying when telephone network started appearing in the early nineteen twenty s phone companies like eighteen bill traffic control bureaus to handle long distance traffic issues by the early nineteen sixties. At and t. Handled most telephone switching through mechanical devices and build a network control center or noc to manage it. At and t. Historians consider this to be the first knock ever built by nineteen seventy seven bell systems had built the first national knock in bedminster new jersey which looked a lot like modern knocks. Today there wasn't much security yet but if there was any knock operators were doing it in the us intelligence community the nineteen sixties were fraud with international incidents like the cuban missile crisis of nineteen sixty to the arab israeli six day war in nineteen sixty seven the us pueblo capture and nineteen sixty eight the prague spring crisis and czechoslovakia also nineteen sixty eight in the one. Twenty-one shootdown crisis in one thousand nine hundred sixty nine the. nsa decided that. They needed an operation center to manage their efforts. Across a wide swatch of international activity. Based on the freedom of information request. The nsa released a document in two thousand seven that described the formation of the first national cigarette operations center or insomniac in one thousand nine hundred seventy three and according to charles berlin. I hit him on lincoln and the answer me. He's a former in sock director. The innocent kept adding more responsibility to over time. He said that it's secret. Sauce was when the nsa decided to pair offense or cigarette defense or comsec in the same place. Eventually they replaced the word singing in the title with security. In other words it became the national security operations center. Berlin said that when cyber came along years later the toll of michigan came too big to keep in the in sock in the. Nsa created the national cyber threat operations center or the in talk to deal with it. But with the addition of the concept mission these operations centers started to lean toward defensive security on the government side and in the aftermath of the morris worm which was the first destructive internet worm

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