[ISN] Advisory council seeks tighter cyber security net

From: InfoSec News (alerts@private)
Date: Tue Jan 16 2007 - 22:32:54 PST


By Jonathan Marino
jmarino (at) govexec.com
January 16, 2007

An advisory council approved a report Tuesday calling for greater 
collaboration between the government and private sector to create a 
cybersecurity network impermeable to what officials called a growing 
terrorist threat.

The National Infrastructure Advisory Council report will be sent to the 
White House. It recommended the establishment of goals for critical 
cybersecurity by 2015 and that Homeland Security Department collaborate 
with owners and operators of infrastructure to create sector-specific 
maps to help coordinate in the event of a disaster or attack.

During her presentation of the report, council member Margaret Grayson, 
said regulatory oversight may be needed at some point to ensure that 
government officials and their partners in the private sector are 
performing mandated tasks adequately.

"This may seem aggressive," Grayson said, but she noted that 
intelligence reports suggest a heightening sophistication in 
Internet-savvy terrorists.

The call for improved cybersecurity comes on the heels of a Homeland 
Security Advisory Council recommendation that DHS Secretary Michael 
Chertoff expand the department's research into how terrorists might use 
the Internet to disrupt homeland security.

Chertoff left the meeting before the council voted on a separate report 
that will be sent to the White House, this one on pandemic preparedness. 
But he said an avian flu outbreak is more than just a possibility. It's 
"really a question of when," he said.

The council also approved the pandemic report unanimously. It called for 
continuing development of a strategy that will define how vaccines and 
anti-viral medications will be distributed to critical parts of the 
private sector workforce. The council consists of 30 members appointed 
by the president, and includes private sector and state and local 
government officials.

The draft report recommended the identification of what it termed 
"priority workforce groups." It predicted that absenteeism from work 
would reach up to 40 percent in the case of a pandemic, and multiple 
waves of pandemic illnesses should be expected, with each expected to 
last two to three months.

Private sector employees with an interest in preparations should be kept 
up to speed on plans, the report said. It encouraged agencies and 
businesses to engage nontraditional data acquisition and management 
resources within the commercial workforce in surveillance, collection 
and analysis.

The report also recommended further study of reviews on the potential 
impact of containment strategies, including shuttering U.S. borders in 
the event of an avian flu outbreak.

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