[ISN] Telecom Network Protection A Priority Post-Sept. 11 - Study

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Wed Feb 13 2002 - 02:31:39 PST

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    By Michael Bartlett, Newsbytes
    12 Feb 2002, 8:40 PM CST
    The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center caused a
    significant amount of damage to America's telecommunications
    infrastructure. According to a new study, protecting the network has
    become a high priority in the months following the attacks.
    The study, by research firm Cahners In-Stat/MDR, called Sept. 11 the
    "biggest catastrophe" ever to hit the nation's telecom infrastructure.  
    According to Henry Goldberg, a senior analyst with In-Stat, three
    service providers were "hit hard," while a fourth - AT&T -suffered
    significant damage to its local network capabilities in Manhattan.
    "Verizon had the most severe damage, Genuity lost a POP, a point of
    presence, and Equant also was hit," said Goldberg. "Verizon's West
    Street central office was heavily damaged. Walls were broken, dust and
    dirt got into equipment, it had a loss of commercial power supply, and
    debris made some equipment inaccessible."
    "Verizon told me it will take $1.7 billion to $1.9 billion to restore
    things to where they were before Sept. 11," he added.
    Many large companies are reevaluating disaster recovery plans after
    seeing the damage the attacks caused, said Goldberg. "They don't
    believe their previous plans are necessarily adequate in this new
    The federal government is also getting involved. According to
    Goldberg, the National Telecommunications and Information
    Administration (NTIA), which is a part of the Department of Commerce,
    and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are two agencies
    spearheading the drive to review security procedures for the telecom
    "There also is the Network Reliability and Interoperability Council
    (NRIC), which is chaired by Joseph Nacchio, CEO of Qwest," he said.  
    "However, the government is limited in what it can do, because
    companies are hesitant to disclose information in public."
    Telecom companies have changed many things since Sept. 11, said
    Goldberg. Before the attacks, the emphasis was on consolidating
    operations into fewer places to increase efficiency. Post-attacks,
    companies don't want one location's failure to bring down traffic, he
    "Verizon had a heavy concentration of traffic in one place - its
    central office in Manhattan. Now, they are diversifying so all the
    switching equipment is not in one place," he explained.
    Telecom companies are also implementing extensive new security
    procedures at their central offices, Goldberg added.
    "Equant is paying more attention to routing when obtaining capacity
    from third-party carriers," he said. "Genuity never anticipated an
    entire POP could be destroyed. Now, they are making sure they have
    redundancy in routes and POPs. The redundant paths go through
    different POPs."
    Another reaction to the attacks is the rise of "business continuity
    services." Goldberg said these "portfolio" services are offered by
    telecom service providers as a way for companies to not have all of
    their data and infrastructure in one vulnerable place.
    Business continuity services include virtual private networks (VPN),
    firewalls, intrusion detection, external hosting, storage and Internet
    data centers, he said.
    "The application hosting would take place in the provider's secure
    centers, offering back-up hosting and storage," said Goldberg.  
    "Service providers say customers are expressing interest in these
    services after Sept. 11. SBC offered these services before the
    attacks, but now AT&T and Verizon do as well."
    In-Stat/MDR is at http://www.instat.com
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