GSA casting for FIDNet comments

The General Services Administration today released the draft request for proposals on the Federal Intrusion Detection Network, a program that will provide a single analysis and response center for governmentwide cyberattacks.

The FIDNet program is intended to create an environment that will enable civilian agencies to react collectively to cyberattacks and security incidents rather than having each agency trying to respond on its own.

The FIDNet program office, housed at GSA's Federal Computer Incident Response Capability, will be able to diagnose in real time whether a concerted, governmentwide attack is occurring by pulling together reports from the intrusion-detection systems already in place at civilian agencies.

FedCIRC, working with the National Infrastructure Protection Center's Analysis and Warnings Unit, will help the agencies involved in fighting cyberattacks and put out alerts. And should the FIDNet analysis center determine that a criminal attack is occurring, the information will be forwarded to the FBI.

The concept behind FIDNet will require vendors to take their technology beyond its current capabilities. Intrusion-detection systems can only read the output from their own sensors, and the FIDNet system will need to read reports from the many different sensors agencies have installed across their networks.

FIDNet program officials have held several meetings with vendors who are interested in the program, and the draft RFP released today is designed to determine what vendors can offer now and what they may be able to offer in the future.

"We're looking for comment from the vendor community so that we can structure [the final RFP] for them and still get what we need," said Darwyn Banks, FIDNet program manager.

Starting with an erroneous report last year that FIDNet would monitor both federal and private-sector networks, the program has raised objections from privacy groups and Congress. The $10 million requested by the president for FIDNet in the fiscal 2001 budget, along with almost $91 million for other information security programs outlined in the National Plan for Information Systems Protection, is having problems making it through the appropriations committees.

But GSA is going ahead as planned and is asking for comments by June 23, with the hopes of getting a final RFP out by the beginning of the next fiscal year.

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