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A cybersecurity early warning system that comes out of the National Cyber Security Summit task force deliberations will not stand alone. It will enhance other systems that are already operating.

Among those:

* U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team: US-CERT was created in September 2003 in the Homeland Security Department's National Cyber Security Division to lead national incident prevention, warnings and response efforts. Its goal was to cut incident response times to 30 minutes or less by the end of 2004, and it is meant to be an analysis and response coordination hub. The national early warning system, when completed, would presumably be a major aid for US-CERT in its mission.

* Global Early Warning Information System: GEWIS allows DHS officials to monitor sensitive areas of the Internet and alerts them to suspicious activity. GEWIS would not look at the more intricate events that individual company sensors might be able to pick up and flag as possible attacks. For example, it would not have picked up the SQL Slammer worm until it had already spread to much of the Internet. A final version of GEWIS is expected to be delivered

in March.

* Defense Department Computer Emergency Response Team: DOD-CERT has early warning capabilities and, coupled with a Symantec Corp. system, provides a global view of security vulnerabilities

and threat activities.

* National Cyber Alert System. Announced by DHS officials in January, this system will deliver e-mail alerts about cybersecurity threats to two communities: technical users responsible for protecting critical infrastructure and end users. Users must sign up to receive the alerts.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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