RSA 2015 survey: 48 percent believe NSA surveillance has increased

Heartbleed bug not leveraged for surveillance, NSA says
Heartbleed bug not leveraged for surveillance, NSA says

At RSA Conference 2015, a group of more than 200 attendees were surveyed regarding their thoughts about government surveillance in the wake of Edward Snowden leaks. Among the participants, nearly half, just over 48 percent, believed that the National Security Agency (NSA) had increased its surveillance of U.S. citizens, while around 45 percent felt NSA's surveillance efforts remained the same since June 2013, when the whistleblower Snowden began leaking classified information.

On Monday, Thycotic, a privileged account management solutions provider, published its survey of 202 RSA Conference attendees. In a press release, the company noted that “just six percent [13 respondents] believe that the national exposure of classified NSA documents has led to a decrease in NSA surveillance.”

Despite concerns about the government overstepping its authority, the majority of respondents, 70 percent, still appeared hopeful about the impact of the newly formed Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC), announced by the White House in late February.

At the time, the White House explained that the mission of the center was not to “collect intelligence, manage incident response efforts, direct investigations, or replace other functions currently performed by existing departments, agencies, or government cyber centers,” – but instead, to support the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, and U.S. Cyber Command.

In the RSA Conference survey, seven out of 10 respondents believed that the CTIIC would have a positive impact on the country's national security.

Nathan Wenzler, senior technology evangelist at Thycotic, told SCMagazine.com in a Monday interview that the survey highlighted skepticism held by security professionals, as well as the tech industry as a whole, regarding government surveillance. But that, overall, respondents believed that the government could strike a better balance when protecting the country from cyber attacks and national security threats.  

“Whether it's information revealed by Snowden or all the data breaches happening, I think the [CTIIC] is giving people some hope that they can find the right balance,” Wenzler added. He said later, that while there is hope, “at the same time, everyone needs to take it upon themselves to [implement] good security, even with the government taking this positive step.”

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