http://www.washtech.com/news/regulation/13352-1.html By Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, October 25, 2001; 7:31 AM OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 23 News of cyberattacks, viruses and hoaxes often spreads through the computer security world in the same haphazard way as gossip. Jonathan Disher, who oversees the security network for Internet Pictures Corp., for instance, gets his information from several Web sites, two e-mail lists, pages and phone messages. So far, he said his informal system has worked okay. But since Sept. 11, Disher has been worried about how such a system would hold up under aggressive, targeted strikes by terrorist groups. "While we're not completely caught with our pants down, we're not as prepared as we should be," he said. Creating a "first alert" system for problems on the Internet has become a priority in recent weeks as the government has warned of possible attacks on the high-tech infrastructure. Richard A. Clarke, the adviser for cyber-security in the newly created Office of Homeland Security, has encouraged companies to create industry-specific information dissemination centers. Setting up such a system was the topic du jour in the hallways here at a meeting of nearly 600 computer administrators and security managers of some of the largest and most powerful high-tech companies in the country, such as Cisco Systems, Yahoo, America Online and Microsoft. Many like the idea of information centers, but say companies are reluctant to share information with others because they don't want to appear vulnerable or give information to competitors. "The biggest problem . . . is people don't trust each other," said Bill Yang, who works for a high-tech consultancy in Ohio. A public-private group called Infragard aims to change that. Created in January, it is coordinated by the FBI and its members include representatives from companies that run the nation's water, electricity, medical, communications and transportation systems. It has set up an e-mail list that allows people to report potential problems, even anonymously. In the meantime, Clarke and others have begun discussing additional ways to better prepare for a possible attack on computer systems. He has called for the creation of a second, more stable Internet for the government and he has proposed that emergency workers be given priority access to wireless communications during crises. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), meanwhile, recently urged the government to establish a national technology corps to help during crises. The volunteers would stand ready with computer equipment, satellite dishes, wireless communicators and other equipment to quickly re-create and repair compromised communications and technology infrastructures. "What we're talking about is having the brains and trucks and routers in place just in case," Wyden said. - 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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