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U.S. government continues to try and carefully battle cybersecurity issues

New proposed U.S. Senate legislation aims to broaden the cybersecurity focus of the U.S. government, as there is growing concern the federal government is ill-equipped to battle against cyber threats from China and Eastern Europe.

Assigning an official White House cybersecurity "czar" to oversee cybersecurity is the most important aspect of the new bill proposed by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D, WV) and Senator Olympia Snowe (R, ME).  They both hope to reduce the nation's "vulnerability to cyber crime, global cyber espionage, and cyber attacks."  

Furthermore, the czar would have the ability to temporarily disable computer networks -- even privately operated networks -- if they're under attack, or have been hijacked.

"Currently, the US has systems in place to protect our nation's secrets and government networks against cyber espionage," the two Senators said in a statement.  "However, another great vulnerability our country faces is the threat to protect our private sector critical infrastructure -- banking, utilities, air/rail/auto traffic control, telecommunications -- from disruptive cyber attacks that could literally shut down our way of life."

Despite varying levels of defense against government computer systems, Rockefeller believes private sector PCs will be the ones that need to be more closely monitored.  The bill he co-authored would allow for vulnerability information sharing among private institutions, though there are still many questions that need to be answered.

Rockefeller must try and figure out who would serve as cyber security analysts for the government, what their specific job goals would be, and who they respond to in case of emergency.  It appears small and medium-sized businesses would respond to regional and state-operated cybersecurity centers.

The actual realistic threat the U.S. and its people face from cyber attacks is very hard to gauge, with different threat levels coming from government agencies and privacy groups.  However, a congressional panel -- among other government officials -- have highlighted the growing threat of Chinese-led cyber terrorism attacks aimed at western targets.

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gotta go all the way
By inperfectdarkness on 4/3/2009 8:12:03 AM , Rating: 2
if they're going to do this...they should go balls-out & create another DOD department. instead of USCYBERCOMMAND as a part of the USAF, split it off & create a completely separate branch of the military--to include a secretary of the cyberforce.

do i think such action is warranted? no. i think the USAF already has much/most/all of the infrastructure it needs to handle cybercounterterrorism, etc.

this move reeks of stupidity and nearsightedness.

RE: gotta go all the way
By therealnickdanger on 4/3/2009 8:20:47 AM , Rating: 4
This reeks of wasteful spending in order to expand government control. Create a "need", then tax the sh*t out of the middle and upper class, spread the wealth to the lazy, while demanding more money for the newly created and "underfunded" programs. If you have been paying attention since day ONE of Obama's administration, that's all they know how to do.

Millions of Americans every day are waking up and asking, "Why oh why didn't I take the RED pill!?"

RE: gotta go all the way
By FITCamaro on 4/3/2009 8:25:56 AM , Rating: 2
This reeks of wasteful spending in order to expand government control.

Exact same feeling I got.

RE: gotta go all the way
By Moishe on 4/3/2009 9:27:21 AM , Rating: 2
stupidity and nearsightedness

Just what the government does best!

Everything is a knee-jerk reaction put in place by ignorant politicians who couldn't wipe their own ass.

pork, the other white meat
By vapore0n on 4/3/2009 8:02:49 AM , Rating: 2
Isnt that what the FBI/HomeLandSecurty is supposed to do?

RE: pork, the other white meat
By naes21 on 4/3/2009 8:10:48 AM , Rating: 2
I wish I had a friend in gov't that could make up an un-needed job for me.

RE: pork, the other white meat
By hiscross on 4/3/2009 11:00:57 PM , Rating: 2
Here you go:

Plenty of jobs just waiting.

This worries me.
By Moishe on 4/3/2009 9:25:28 AM , Rating: 2
the czar would have the ability to temporarily disable computer networks -- even privately operated networks

Does this mean the "authority" to demand that a private entity disable a network?
Does this mean, literally the czar has a method (backdoor) to reach out and touch private networks?

F**K that.

The solution isn't less freedom inside the country. The solution is two-fold.
1. Make sure all government networks are secure and require all government data to be secured by anyone who touches it. Then, enforce this with an iron fist.
2. Build and use methods of disabling attackers.

Until they treat this like a war (where each side takes damage) they will just be reducing freedom inside the country and not really doing much to stop anyone on the outside from getting to our sensitive data.

RE: This worries me.
By zshift on 4/3/2009 9:49:38 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously, letting one person have a complete kill switch to any "private" network they deem necessary under attack.
How do we know this czar will be intelligent enough to know when and where to use such a kill switch, let alone if a kill switch such as this is even safe to use in the first place.

I don't believe that one person should have such an immense amount of control such as this. If cybersecurity is indeed needed, there needs to be way more than just one person making the decisions.

RE: This worries me.
By jhb116 on 4/3/2009 10:13:09 PM , Rating: 2
agreed - so this is supposedly better than the "NSA wiretapping?" So having one person with some much authority/control is better than a gov't agency knowing my personal secrets? Where does the NY Times stand on this issue??

I can understand having a switch for the external (to the US) cables but such power over private companies seems excessive...

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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