When to make the cybersecurity call

Government and industry leaders are working on formal practices and guidelines for when the private sector should call the government to report a cybersecurity incident, said Howard Schmidt, acting chairman of the President's Cybersecurity Board.

Despite advances in information sharing, many security incidents that should have prompted immediate notification — such as the compromise of the Internet's root servers — have not been reported simply because the private sector was not aware of exactly what the government wanted, Schmidt said.

He was speaking April 1 at the Secure E-Business Summit in Crystal City, Va.

Many incidents can be handled by the private sector, but there is current discussion about how to better define expectations on the government side and to institutionalize what type of incidents will be automatically reported to the government, Schmidt said.

One step officials already have made is to establish the National Communications System (NCS) as the key contact point for industry representatives when reporting Internet infrastructure incidents, he said.

The NCS formerly was at the Defense Information Systems Agency, but is now part of the Homeland Security Department's Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate.

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