[ISN] Terror Czar: The War Is Digital

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Wed Sep 11 2002 - 23:14:52 PDT

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    By John Gartner 
    11:50 a.m. Sep. 11, 2002 PDT 
    PHILADELPHIA -- Invading Iraq or silencing Syria won't put an end to
    terrorism, but according to an influential retired U.S. Army general,
    figuring out how to effectively disrupt the communications of
    extremist factions could.
    Speaking to an audience of security professionals on Wednesday, Barry
    McCaffrey, a security expert who advises Congress, said that winning
    against Saddam Hussein will be relatively easy. Protecting civil
    rights while battling terror will be harder.
    McCaffrey, a highly decorated combat veteran, told attendees at the
    American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) annual conference that
    the government's ability to protect the country is "only is good as
    the technology that backs it up."
    McCaffrey said the United States' technologically advanced military
    could oust Hussein in three weeks, and a battle is inevitable. But
    removing dictators only goes so far, McCaffrey said, because most
    radicals aren't fighting for a country but an ideology.
    Intercepting communications between the international pockets of
    zealots is a more significant weapon in battling terror, he said.
    However, the government's initial attempts at monitoring e-mail and
    other electronic communications has only succeeded in "terrorizing law
    enforcement," McCaffrey said.
    The government's current snooping system -- known as Carnivore --
    makes it too easy to "enable the reading of all e-mails with only a
    warrant," McCaffrey said. This indiscriminate access makes it
    difficult for local law enforcement to find useful evidence in a sea
    of data.
    Still, McCaffrey said the "electronic intercept of communications and
    satellite surveillance systems are a huge lever in battling the
    threat" of terrorism. He expects that "technology will be a big part
    of controlling who comes into the U.S."
    But the general cautioned against creating a police state in which
    spying on citizens goes unchecked.
    "We have to devise security methods that protect the Bill of Rights
    and allow free movement of individuals."
    McCaffrey said the new Office of Homeland Security should be
    responsible for coordinating all government agencies' electronic
    sniffing efforts.
    Kelly J. Kuchta, a cybersecurity expert who is chairman of ASIS'
    information technology security council, said private security firms
    have become more willing to work with law enforcement since Sept. 11,
    2001. He said more companies are sharing information about
    cyberattacks with the FBI as part of InfraGard, a cooperative program
    between the public and private sectors.
    While there has not been a significant terrorist attack on the U.S.  
    technology backbone so far, Kuchta said security professionals are on
    the lookout. They worry that a virtual attack could coincide with
    another real-world one.
    At 8:46 a.m., McCaffrey paused during his speech for a moment of
    silence to honor the victims of last year's terrorist attacks,
    including the 35 security professionals who perished at the World
    Trade Center.
    McCaffrey said the United States is in a "permanent state of threat,"  
    and needs to work as part of an international effort to fight the
    poverty that contributes to radical belief systems.
    "We need to give them something to live for, instead of a cause to die
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