Experts lecture feds on cybersecurity

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Congressional funding to curtail cybercrime has been focused on law enforcement

and existing programs, but the real solution will come from education, research

and development programs, federal officials said Tuesday.

"There's no more important part in our national agenda for protecting

our information systems than education," said Jeffery Hunker, senior director for

infrastructure protection at the National Security Council, during the National

Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education in Washington, D.C.

Advancing federal, state and local law enforcement capabilities and

strengthening sentencing will help advance some aspects of cybersecurity.

But the problem of cyberattack vulnerability will not be solved until there

are people who know how to make the systems more secure, said Richard Clarke,

national coordinator for security, infrastructure protection and counterterrorism,

and senior director of transnational threats at the National Security Council.

The reason that attacks are occurring is because the government doesn't

have enough properly trained IT security personnel, Clarke said. "If every

house in the United States were without a front door lock, is the solution

to hire more cops? I think not," he said.

The United States has not produced a group of people who can handle

the new IT infrastructure, Clarke said. "We have built a country that we

cannot run because we don't have the people who know how to run it," he

said.

And without those people, the research and development needed to build

security into networks will not happen, Hunker said. "There's a substantial

overlap between that research and development agenda and the opportunity

to advance education," he said.

Overall government and industry spending on IT is far too low because

people still think of IT as a way to cut costs, "and IT security funding

as a subset of that is critically low," Clarke said.

So while Congress may see this year as a transition year, with "no new

starts," the education and R&D funding requests must be the exception,

he said. "If this is truly the year of "no new starts,' then next year may

be the year that nothing starts and nothing works," he said.

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