[ISN] Two Virginia Universities To Join Forces Against Cybercrime

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Tue May 14 2002 - 00:26:13 PDT

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    By Brian Krebs, Washtech
    13 May 2002, 8:25 PM CST
    Two Virginia schools on Tuesday will launch a $6.5 million project to
    help sort out the myriad legal, technical and policy challenges
    involved in steeling the nation's most vital computer systems against
    The Critical Infrastructure Protection Project - to be housed at the
    George Mason School of Law in Arlington - is a collaborative effort
    between GMU's National Center for Technology and Law and researchers
    and academicians at James Madison University.
    The project will be led by John A. McCarthy, a former member of a
    Clinton administration team that facilitated government and
    private-sector collaboration in preparing key computer systems for the
    Y2K conversion.
    Among the more pressing problems the new center will tackle are legal
    issues that have stymied plans to establish more fluid and open
    information-sharing networks between the public and private sector.
    Tech companies have indicated they would be more willing to share
    information with the government if they could be assured that data
    would not be leaked to the public through the Freedom of Information
    Act (FOIA).
    Lawmakers in both the House and Senate are pushing legislation that
    would guarantee such protections.
    But consumer and privacy watchdog groups say FOIA case law adequately
    protects any of the information concerning cyber-security issues that
    should legitimately be withheld from the public. Rather, they argue,
    the legislation could end up exempting companies from legal liability
    for security lapses.
    "The information-sharing plan has been on the table for six years and
    we still haven't come up with a workable solutions because of legal
    obstacles," McCarthy said. "We hope that by putting our third-party
    hat on we'll be able to bring together the right constituencies to
    broker lasting and useful solutions to long-term problems."
    The center also plans to offer congressional testimony and become the
    central clearinghouse for data and research on cybersecurity and
    critical infrastructure protection.
    "We want to become the center that researchers and government leaders
    can come to that centralizes a lot of data and findings on
    cybersecurity," McCarthy said. "Right now, that data is all over the
    map, and we're planning to bring that together in one place."
    In addition, the group plans to work with other schools to coordinate
    research and development on cyberterrorism issues.
    The program is being paid for through the National Institute for
    Standards and Technology (NIST), an arm of the U.S. Department of
    The $6.5 million was allocated under the FY2002 Commerce-State-Justice
    appropriations bill, which funds the center for the next two years.
    Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on
    Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary, and author of the original
    funding measure, is looking to give the center more money through the
    appropriations process, an aide said.
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