Funds sought for agency security

GEIA white paper

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PDD-63 white paper

The Government Electronics and Information Technology Association is calling for additional resources and funding to ensure that the movement to electronic government does not leave agencies open to cyberattacks.

The GEIA white paper (www.geia.org/pdf/IAPositionPaper.pdf) released Aug. 1 looks at security problems raised by Presidential Decision Directive 63, issued in May 1998 by President Clinton. Under PDD 63, agencies are required to protect the information systems that support the nation's critical infrastructure.

Agencies are increasing their reliance on information technology, but they are not increasing their expertise in protecting systems from attacks. So in the white paper, GEIA offers four steps to overcome that gap:

n Fund demonstration programs in several infrastructure areas, such as air traffic control and emergency services.

n Fund research and development programs to address security issues identified by groups such as the CIO Council.

n Identify, support, build on and reward internal and crossagency initiatives to strengthen the federal security infrastructure.

n Foster cooperative research with international allies.

Cyberattacks, such as the Code Red worms making their way around the Internet looking for new Web servers to infect this month, are not aimed specifically at the nation's infrastructure. But viruses and worms are becoming more common and affect the systems that support that infrastructure.

"Most federal network operators lack the resources and technical expertise to defend against attacks and minimize damage," GEIA president Dan Heinemeier said.

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