Cybersecurity forum planned

National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace

The Homeland Security Department now has the foundation for addressing cybersecurity vulnerabilities and response, but the details will be filled in at a summit later this year, Robert Liscouski, assistant secretary of infrastructure protection, testified before a House subcommittee today.

Although cybersecurity is a priority for the department, officials are only this week making a series of announcements about executing the charter of DHS' National Cyber Security Division. This is because they wanted to make sure the team and structure was in place before issuing promises for service, Liscouski told the House Homeland Security Committee's Cybersecurity, Science and Research subcommittee.

The cybersecurity division will hold a forum in the fall for federal, state and local government agencies, and all portions of the private sector, to determine the details of executing the priorities outlined in the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, Liscouski said today.

Key goals of the National Cyber Security Summit will be to:

* Produce a common threat and vulnerability reporting protocol that will enhance incident prevention and response by fostering faster and more accurate reporting.

* Develop a Vulnerability Reduction Initiative that will encourage vendors to cut down on the number of security holes and software bugs in commercial products, create new tools and methods for rapid deployment of software patches and spread security best practices to all areas of the private sector.

* Create an outreach and education partnership, whose first goal will be to offer training and awareness programs to 50 million home users and small businesses within one year.

* Develop and ratify a National Cyber Security Road Map with specific milestones and metrics for raising security across the country.

Identifying and spreading best practices and standards will be a critical factor in many of these goals, so it is a top priority within the division, Liscouski said. For example, the US-CERT will be the model for helping other countries create incident response capabilities, and will also be used to enhance and create such capabilities in every state within the United States, he said.

The NCSD will also help develop models for vulnerability and incident information sharing in the private sector. Several sectors have been working on information sharing and analysis centers, but others are far behind and officials recognize that a one-size-fits-all model will not work. DHS is looking to help partly by funding several pilots in different sectors to see what works and what doesn't, Liscouski said.

Liscouski announced on Monday that the department named Amit Yoran, the head of Symantec Corp.'s managed security services group, as the new director of the NCSD, as well as the creation of the U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team to lead national warnings and response.

The philosophy of the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection division is to "plan carefully, but quickly, with the ability to execute," he said, and even the current structure will likely change as more detailed plans are developed and officials experience how the current structure works.

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