[ISN] Cashing In on Cyber Crime

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Sat Apr 14 2001 - 13:18:28 PDT

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    by Declan McCullagh
    2:00 a.m. Apr. 14, 2001 PDT
    WASHINGTON -- About the only thing that worries Washington bureaucrats
    more than the Chinese government, it seems, is malicious hackers.
    President Bush's proposed budget sent to Congress this week asks that
    "additional resources" be given to the FBI for fighting computer
    crime. The White House sees the cash going to "prosecutorial
    assistance for all terrorist incidents, including cyber-terrorism,
    serving as a focal point for such efforts at all levels of law
    Let's not forget reports this week that suggested Chinese partisans
    have been trying to break into U.S. government and corporate websites.
    All this comes as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is warning about
    a "cyber Pearl Harbor." Cautioned the Republican stalwart earlier this
    month: "We have never seen a cyber attack of national proportions
    resulting in mass disruption of our society and our lives, but such a
    scenario is not unprecedented."
    It's not a partisan issue: Many Democrats feel the same way. The first
    official to talk about a "Cyber Pearl Harbor" was Jamie Gorelick,
    deputy attorney general under President Clinton. Gorelick said in 1996
    that "a cyber threat can disrupt the provision of services and disrupt
    our society, disable our society even more so than can a well-placed
    In Washington, one can gauge how seriously officialdom takes an issue
    by the amount of cash dispensed. And even beyond the budget, there's
    ample evidence the feds aren't joking around.
    Take Friday's announcement from the National Institute of Standards
    and Technology. The group is going to be writing checks to nearly
    anyone who comes up with some good research ideas on the topic.
    "While the United States Government has sponsored considerable
    research in the area of computer security for military and
    intelligence systems, there has been insufficient research to address
    the protection of private, commercial and civil infrastructures," the
    NIST said in a statement.
    NIST expects grants -- which can go to universities or for-profit
    companies -- to range between $100,000 and $1,000,000. The deadline is
    June 15, 2001.
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