http://www.siliconvalley.com/docs/news/svfront/042802.htm Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2001 WASHINGTON (AP) -- After one day on the job, the president's cyberspace security adviser asked computer companies Wednesday to help design a new secure telecommunications network for government use. Richard Clarke said he wants the network, called GOVNET, to be separate from the Internet to keep it safe from hackers or terrorists. Government agencies would use GOVNET for voice and data communications, and possibly for videoconferences presidential advisers have used since the Sept. 11 attacks. ``Planning for this network has been going on for several months,'' Clarke said in a memo to the industry. The nation's counterterrorism chief for more than a decade, Clarke has pressed private industry to increase computer security by improving its own products. ``We'll be working even more with them in the future, to secure our cyberspace from a range of possible threats, from hackers to criminals to terrorist groups, to foreign nations, which might use cyber war against us,'' Clarke said Tuesday when his new job was announced. From his previous post at the National Security Council, he warned that America's fledgling Internet was vulnerable to a ``digital Pearl Harbor'' that could badly disrupt communications. Those warnings were echoed Wednesday on Capitol Hill, where experts told Congress that part of the problem is that current computer systems were not designed with security in mind. ``Security cannot be easily or adequately added on after the fact and this greatly complicates our overall mission,'' Purdue University's Eugene Spafford said. ``The software and hardware being deployed today has been designed by individuals with little or no security training, using unsafe methods, and then poorly tested.'' The government relies on all types of technology companies -- for personal computer software to public telephone networks. Recent independent reviews have shown computers at many government agencies are open to a hacker attack. In theory, GOVNET would be impervious to outside assault -- particularly from lone young hackers, the most common Internet attacker. The chairman of the House Science Committee, Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, said research and development on computer security has not kept pace with growing threats. ``To put it simply, we need more people to be doing more creative thinking about computer security. That's what our adversaries are doing,'' said Boehlert, R-N.Y. University of Virginia professor William A. Wulf said that because not enough government money is spent on computer security research, experts tend to be conservative. ``Out of the box thinking in an area of scarce resources doesn't get funded,'' he said. The GOVNET proposal could cost billions of dollars. The government wants the network up and running six months after a contractor is picked, although there is no deadline for the contract to be awarded. ``A system like this can help us break through the cloud of the Internet and provide a separate network where the integrity of government information can be protected,'' said Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, a leader on computer security issues. Many parts of the government, including the CIA and the Defense Department, operate separate classified networks. Mark Rasch, a former Justice Department computer crimes prosecutor, said those networks could be expanded and integrated to form GOVNET. An additional challenge is that GOVNET would have limited value because it could not access the World Wide Web. A better way, Rasch suggested, might be to improve the ways sensitive information is encrypted and sent over public networks such as the Internet. ``We're not building new highways so we can move tanks and troops from one place to another,'' Rasch said. ``We build the highways so they can handle the transfer of both cars and trucks and, if necessary, tanks and troops.'' - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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