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Homeland Security joins forces with bank tech to boost cybersecurity

Is the government taking steps to win back America's trust?

February 3, 2014
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The Department of Homeland Security tapped FIS, which serves more than 14,000 institutions in 110 countries, as a research partner for its National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center.

So what does this mean and/or why is it notable? Well, the NSA is in hot water for several reasons, but the result of that has been a shutting down of several iniatives. Somehow, the FIS deal pushed through. Is this the government's attempt, a first step if you will, in regaining the trust of the average American?

The Center monitors cyber security 24/7, and provides incident response and management. Through the partnership DHS will actively collaborate and share information with FIS, a banking technology provider, and other federal partners to improve the security of financial transactions worldwide, according to the company.

“This partnership demonstrates the leadership role FIS plays in defining security for the financial services industry worldwide,” said Greg Montana, EVP and chief risk officer at FIS. “We’re proud of our partnership with DHS and will leverage this experience to continue to strengthen the banking and payments environments for financial institutions and the customers they serve.”

The Cybersecurity Center provides awareness of cybersecurity situation awareness vulnerabilities, intrusions, incidents, mitigation and recovery actions, as well as performing analysis and sharing actionable information, according to DHS.

Partnerships between government agencies and private firms with access to mega data, even with the laudable goal of increased cybersecurity, can raise the specter of the NSA collecting data from the likes of Yahoo and Google. After Edward Snowden's allegations last June that the NSA had "direct access" to data from the Internet giants — and whether that meant the NSA had their consent or not — these kinds of alliances make some uneasy. 

On the one hand, this partnership makes total sense. FIS — "the world's largest provider of banking and payments technology" according to their website — is the perfect choice to loop into the country's cybersecurity. On the other hand, it means trusting a government agency to keep its hands to itself when confronted with a big pile of data.

Our best option is summed up by Thomas Jefferson — "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."