Feds stay busy

Federal officials can point to a hectic cybersecurity events calendar. Since November 2002, the federal government has been involved in many cybersecurity activities.

November 2002

Homeland Security Act becomes law.

Explanation: Statute creates a Homeland Security Department

to focus federal resources on fighting terrorism, including cyberterrorism.

Cybersecurity Research and Development Act becomes law.

Statute authorizes new levels of federal spending on cybersecurity research and development.

December 2002

Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) becomes law.

Explanation: The statute requires federal agencies to set and enforce secure configuration

standards for all new and existing computer information systems.

February 2003

National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace released.

Explanation: White House document outlines cybersecurity objectives for DHS and other federal agencies.

October 2003

Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) drafts legislation to amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and names it the Corporate Information Security Accountability Act of 2003.

Explanation: Draft legislation would require publicly traded companies to include an information security report in their annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, similar to the report companies were required to make about their Year 2000 readiness.

November 2003

Corporate Information Security Group formed.

Explanation: Software industry opposes Putnam's legislation; Putnam creates a group of

private-sector companies to produce an alternative plan.

December 2003

Putnam awards grades to federal agencies for computer security.

Federal government earns a D average for cybersecurity; many agencies have failing grades.

National Cyber Security Summit held.

DHS officials and business leaders meet to plan cybersecurity actions; computers owned or operated by the private sector control 85 percent of the nation's critical power and communications infrastructure.

February 2004

Cyber Security Industry Alliance formed.

Explanation: Eleven leading computer security companies organize to influence public

policy and spending on cybersecurity.

March 2004

Office of Management and Budget releases FISMA report to Congress.

Explanation: Report reveals many security vulnerabilities, including a lack of contingency plans for operating agency computer systems in an emergency.

March-April 2004

The Corporate Information Security Working Group and five industry-led task forces formed during the National Cyber Security Summit release reports with recommendations.

Explanation: Reports include many detailed and potentially effective recommendations, but stop short of proposing sweeping changes in the status quo.

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