[ISN] Feds still need to define role in tackling cyberterror, panelists say

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Wed May 16 2001 - 00:37:46 PDT

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    By Liza Porteus 
    National Journal's Technology Daily 
    May 15, 2001
    The massive Y2K efforts exerted to prevent a crash of the nation's
    critical infrastructure may have moved the nation into the new
    millennium with a few battle scars, a panel of experts said Monday,
    but officials should heed the lessons learned from that experience
    when looking toward protecting the nation's technological backbone in
    the future.
    Cyberterrorism "has no deadline like the 31st of December. It's going
    to go on forever," Utah Republican Sen. Robert Bennett said at an
    Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA)
    conference on Monday. "We have this kind of vulnerability now that we
    never had before."
    Bennett said the government is far from ready to combat
    cyberterrorism, noting that in the past 12 months alone, government
    agencies reported 586 intrusions. Bennett added that his own Senate
    Web site was defaced over the weekend when an aide in his office
    opened an attachment that spread porn to Bennett's Web site and to all
    addresses in the aide's e-mail account--some of which included Utah
    "The time is coming, and coming rapidly, when these intrusions will
    become more than a nuisance, more than embarrassing." He said
    countries or individuals with vendettas against the United States
    could do the most damage to the nation via the banking industry. "That
    would devastate the United States more than a nuclear device let off
    over a major city," he said.
    Virginia Technology Secretary Donald Upson, who has been mentioned as
    a potential candidate for a key technology job in the Bush
    administration, and John Sopko, deputy administrator of the National
    Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), both hailed
    recent initiatives by President Bush to streamline efforts to protect
    critical infrastructure as a way to bring industry and government
    Upson said critical infrastructure protection needs to begin at the
    top level, but "it hasn't happened yet. ... We don't know today what
    the federal government's role is. ... Our challenge is figuring out
    how to work together."
    But Sopko said that "one has to recognize cyberdefense is a long-term
    problem with several pitfalls along the way." He said Commerce
    Secretary Donald Evans has made promoting and protecting e-government
    a priority because "our opponents are smarter and our dependence [on
    e-commerce] is greater."
    Sopko said the Bush administration has approached the challenge with
    "eagerness and receptivity." He said e-government is one of the
    administration's "core security issues." The White House announced
    last week that a review of critical infrastructure policy would be
    conducted with industry input, with the results to be released later
    this year.
    Evans, meanwhile, told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee last week
    that the administration has made a "real effort" to work with
    industry. "We're not trying to worry about whose turf it's on. ...
    We're trying to figure out solutions," he said. "That's what it's all
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