http://www.eet.com/sys/news/OEG20020614S0093 By George Leopold EE Times June 14, 2002 (12:09 p.m. EST) WASHINGTON - U.S. homeland-defense officials are moving increased security for the nation's information networks to the forefront as they struggle to prevent new terror attacks. With President George W. Bush's proposal to create a Department of Homeland Defense, cybersecurity has been thrust to the top of the post-9/11 agenda. Planners said a future attack would most likely be different from last September's, with information, financial and transportation networks thought to be at the top of the target list. "The infrastructure is the target," Paul Kurtz, senior director for national security at the White House Office of Cyberspace Security, told a conference here Thursday (June 13). "The worst-case scenario can happen." Kurtz urged industry executives meeting here to "think about a coordinated attack against the physical infrastructure, the information infrastructure." The Bush administration moved to codify cybersecurity procedures after 9/11 through an executive order last October designed to secure U.S. information networks. The order was being prepared before the 9/11 attacks, Kurtz said. The goal of the plan is to ensure that network disruptions are infrequent, short and manageable. "We're busy now trying to plug the holes" in existing telecommunications networks, Kurtz said, including "backup dial tones." Verizon, the primary carrier on the East Coast, lost its dial tone in the New York area after the World Trade Center was struck by hijacked aircraft last September. A national strategy for improving network security and reliability also includes building security into future networks and hardening the Internet through more-secure network protocols. Research labs mobilized The government is also trying to mobilize federal research labs to work on cybersecurity solutions not being developed by industry while cutting down on redundant research projects, Kurtz said. The proposed homeland security agency, something the Bush administration opposed until its June 6 announcement, would attempt to harness the specific skills of different agencies while breaking up bureaucratic logjams that prevent quick action. Kurtz called the Bush proposal a "force multiplier," adding that "most of this is up for discussion right now." That's a reference to intense negotiations between the White House and Congress on the structure and authority of the proposed agency, which would not include the embattled FBI or CIA. Industry executives at the conference embraced the idea of government-industry partnerships to boost security on the Internet, but some cautioned that the homeland defense proposal could tackle problems where there are none. "Let's not break what's not broken" as efforts are made to improve network security, said Arthur Deacon, AT&T vice president for network operations and service assurance. The AT&T executive said cybersecurity on packet-switched networks is "all about topology, not technology." Proposals are also emerging to use higher-capacity wireless technologies for public-safety applications when land lines are knocked out. One would combine mobile radio networks on land with mobile Internet Protocol (IP) technology to potentially offer 3-Mbit/second capacity. OFDM tapped The proposed wireless network for homeland defense is based on a technology called flash-OFDM (orthogonal frequency-division multiplex). Variations of the technology are used in Europe. Northrop Grumman, a chief proponent of the technology, has demonstrated flash-OFDM with a technology partner, Flarion Technologies Inc. (Bedminster, N.J.), and has lined up Cisco Systems Inc. as a strategic partner. The IP-based system requires 10 MHz of spectrum to support as many as 5 million simultaneous users, said Royce Kincaid, program manager for homeland defense at Northrop Grumman. The company is targeting the 24 MHz of spectrum in the 700-MHz band set aside by the Federal Communications Commission for public-safety applications. Kincaid said that government officials have urged the companies to promote the technology, and the partners are meeting with regulators shortly to discuss the possible allocation of spectrum for the high-speed wireless network. - 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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