Y2K lessons apply to information security

The federal government must apply the lessons it has learned from addressing the Year 2000 problem to its efforts to protect its critical infrastructure from information security threats, according to a General Accounting Office report issued this week.

"While differences exist, many of the efforts that have been undertaken to manage and remedy the Year 2000 problem can also be applied to these longer term challenges," the report stated. "Some of these 'lessons' are already apparent. However, it is likely that other will emerge as the Year 2000 transition period unfolds."

The report was requested by Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem. Bennett and his committee for several months have been tracking the issue of how resources and infrastructure put in place to solve the Year 2000 problem could be used to help solve critical infrastructure threats.

The report supports many of the findings of the committee. It highlighted the need for high-level congressional and executive branch leadership; the establishment of public-private sector relationships; and greater oversight to monitor agencies' performance.

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