DHS official suggests sharing IT resources to survive hacks

Groups of companies in the same industry could mitigate the effects of cyberattacks by pooling infrastructure resources and working together on security issues, a senior official in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has suggested.

The comments by Mark Weatherford, deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity, came as several U.S. banks were dealing with a fourth week of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

The targeted banks include Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp, PNC Financial Services Group, Citigroup, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. Hackers in Iran have claimed responsibility.

"This has been an eye-opening experience," said Weatherford, speaking at a cybersecurity awareness conference in Santa Clara, Calif., organized by local businesses.

Weatherford suggested "a co-op kind of model" where Internet service providers buy many more servers than any one company might need and then "co-op that for like-minded organizations" so that when someone needs the capacity, it would be available.

"We need to think of different ways of sharing resources," he said, but also acknowledged that he has "no idea" if such a scheme is legal or even possible.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

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