[IWAR] US Infrastructure Protection Center

From: 7Pillars Partners (partnersat_private)
Date: Fri Mar 06 1998 - 12:59:05 PST

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    U.S. moves on hacker threats 
      By Torsten Busse 
      InfoWorld Electric 
      Posted at 3:07 PM PT, Mar 5, 1998 
      U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno has announced an interagency effort to track
    and analyze electronic threats to the
      nation's critical infrastructures, such as communications, transportation,
    and energy networks. 
      The new National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), headed by Associate
    Deputy Attorney General Michael
      Vatis, will include the Computer Investigations and Infrastructure Threat
    Assessment Center of the U.S. Federal
      Bureau of Investigation, and will add real-time intrusion-detection
    capabilities for cyberattacks directed at various
      national, electronic infrastructures. 
      "Our telecommunications systems are more vulnerable than ever before as we
    rely on technology more than ever
      before," Reno said. 
      The NIPC will coordinate the efforts of a number of government agencies in
    setting up and operating defenses against
      cyberspace intrusions from both inside and outside the borders of the United
    States. Effective defense will depend on
      that cooperation, Reno said. 
      Reno will ask the U.S. Congress to commit $64 million for the NIPC in fiscal
    year 1999, a sum that will allow the
      establishment of six additional computer investigation centers in U.S.
      The private sector will also have a vital role to play in the electronic
    defense, Reno said. She called for direct
      electronic links between the private sector and law enforcement agencies in
    what she termed a "significant departure"
      from established procedures. However, those closer links must be set up
    within the confines of the U.S. Constitution
      and cannot infringe on individual rights and confidentiality, she said. 
      The dimensions of the threat will also require international collaboration,
    given the possibility that someone "can sit in
      the kitchen in St. Petersburg, Russia, and can steal money from a bank in New
    York," Reno said. "Cyberspace
      crosses borders." 
      One of law enforcement agencies' biggest challenges currently is to
    understand the origin of a cyberattack, Reno said.
      This includes determining whether an attack is domestic or international, and
    whether it is the work of a terrorist, a
      foreign state, a juvenile trying to crack the latest firewall, or a
    disgruntled worker getting back at a supervisor, she
      For that reason, the NIPC will strive to set up procedures that will best
    allow government agencies to analyze the
      nature and origin of the attacks and to assign responsibility to the
    appropriate agency in a speedy manner. It will also
      be in charge of developing the means and methods of sharing information and
    equipment among agencies. 
      The NIPC will also develop training programs for state and local agencies,
    which Reno said are on the front line
      against cyberattacks. 
      "Criminals today have guns," Reno said. "Soon they will have computers and
    other weapons of mass destruction." 
      Reno also set up a special working group at the Department of Justice to
    streamline research and development efforts
      aimed at cybercrimes. 
      Initially the NIPC, which will be housed at FBI headquarters, will employ 85
    FBI agents and 40 employees from the
      Secret Service and the departments of Defense, Transportation, and Energy,
    said Kenneth Geide, the deputy chief of
      NIPC. Eventually, the center will add employees from other federal agencies
    and the private sector. Funding
      mechanisms have not yet been finalized. 
      In October 1997, the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure
    Protection recommended that the government
      field a real-time warning capability modeled upon the military's air-defense
    and missile-warning system. 
      Torsten Busse is a San Francisco correspondent for the IDG News Service, an
    InfoWorld affiliate.

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