Industry teaming on cybersecurity analysis center

In the aftermath of last week's denial-of-service attacks against some of the most popular e-commerce sites on the Internet, the information technology industry has announced plans to create its own cybersecurity center as called for by the government plan to protect the nation's critical infrastructure.

The movement to form the information sharing and analysis center (ISAC) is being led by the Information Technology Association of America and already includes 45 vendors and 10 industry associations. The organizations will share protection and incident information within the ISAC and, when necessary, share that information with the appropriate government agencies, said Harris Miller, president of ITAA.

"[Companies will be] sharing information and working together through a mechanism, particularly to focus on cyberattacks, vulnerabilities, countermeasures and best information security practices," Miller said.

The ISACs are called for under the administration's National Plan for Information Systems Protection, released by President Clinton on Jan. 12. The banking and finance sector is the only other group so far to have formed its own ISAC. The Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security, a group formed in December to look at security issues across every sector of the economy, is also meeting next week to take the first steps toward forming its own information sharing mechanism. (Click here for related story.)

The goal of the ISACs is to coordinate cyberdefenses and pass on information to the government and whatever structure is set up by the partnership. But on the front end, ISACs are intended to help share security practices and tools and raise the basic level of security across the board.

"There is a lot of information out there, but for various reasons, it is not necessarily getting systematically to the widest possible audience," Miller said.

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