Calling for security leadership

Industry officials said there is a lack of follow-through on the President's National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace.

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Administration officials must provide better leadership during President Bush's second term for dealing with cybersecurity threats, a panel of security industry officials said today.

Industry officials criticized what they said is a lack of follow-through on the President's National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, released in February 2003, and on recommendations that industry and government leaders made earlier this year. Both sets of recommendations call for voluntary actions rather than new regulation to strengthen the nation's cyberdefenses.

Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., security industry officials urged government officials to act on 12 recommendations, including the creation of a national cyberthreat center. Government intelligence about cyberthreats against privately owned and operated infrastructures such as oil pipelines and telecommunications could be collected and analyzed there and then shared with industry officials.

"All of these things should be done and be done quickly," said Art Coviello, president and chief executive officer of RSA Security.

The panel, composed of members of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance (CSIA), proposed that the federal officials also:

Create and appoint an assistant secretary for cybersecurity in the Homeland Security Department.

Ratify the Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime to deny safe haven to cybercriminals.

Promote better awareness among corporate executives of the cybersecurity implications of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other legislative mandates on businesses.

Lead by example by using the federal procurement process to bring more secure technologies into the federal government.

Provide more funding for Information Sharing and Analysis Centers in which critical business sectors share information.

Establish and test an emergency coordination network that could provide vital communications in the event of a major disruption of Internet communications.

Direct a federal agency to track the economic costs associated with cyberattacks.

Increase long-term research and development funds for cybersecurity.

Increase funding for the Office of Management and Budget and the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Computer Security Division, which have a congressionally mandated responsibility for developing cybersecurity technical standards and policy guidelines.

Reduce the time and costs involved in certifying commercial software through the government's National Information Assurance Partnership program.

Form a government and private-sector task force to recommend concrete actions to secure the digital control systems used to operate the nation's electrical transmission grid, wastewater treatment facilities and other critical infrastructures.

CSIA sponsored the panel. In February, nearly a dozen computer security companies formed the alliance to influence public policy and spending on cybersecurity. The group includes well-known computer security firms whose members seek improved relations with government agencies that collect cybersecurity threat information.

Current members of CSIA are BindView, Check Point Software Technologies, Citadel Security Software, Computer Associates International, Entrust, Internet Security Systems, Juniper Networks, McAfee, PGP, Qualys, RSA Security, Secure Computing, Symantec and TechGuard Security.

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