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Cyber security is one of President-elect Obama's many concerns when he becomes president next month

A new report issued by the Center for Strategic and International Studies urges President-elect Barack Obama to create a new White House department aimed at protecting U.S. cyber interests from hackers and other foreign agents.

"America's failure to protect cyberspace is one of the most urgent national security problems facing the new administration that will take office in January 2009," the report states.  Cyber safety is "a battle fought mainly in the shadows.  It is a battle we are losing."

The 96-page "Securing Cyberspace for the 44th Presidency" report was made public at the start of the week and offers numerous ideas and recommendations for government officials who are growing more concerned about the possibility of cyberwarfare.

"The United States must treat cybersecurity as one of the most important national security challenges it faces," according to the report.  It adds that the current Bush administration's Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative "good but not sufficient" and the use of computers as attack tools creates "a strategic issue on par with weapons of mass destruction and global jihad."

Furthermore, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not been able to properly secure U.S. government computers from cyber attacks, and should no longer have the responsibility.  DHS isn't suited to handle technology issues, as the agency uses "archaic" methods that cannot keep up with new attacks.

At least five members of Obama's transition team helped contribute to the report, and his staff is eager to see how they can better protect the United States from cyber attacks.

DHS will likely be strengthened once Obama takes office, but even so, it's not recommended the agency continue to have the lead in cyber security, as it "is not the agency to lead in a conflict with foreign intelligence agencies or militaries, or even well organized international cyber criminals."

In an ideal scenario, the new office would combine the Joint Inter-Agency Cyber Task Force and DHS National Center for Cybersecurity while recruiting cyber security experts to help create new levels of defense.

Security experts believe Obama will be receptive to the new ideas, and will begin to swiftly create new ideas to help protect the United States from cyber security threats.

A copy of the report is available here.

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By crystal clear on 12/9/2008 8:34:21 AM , Rating: 3
It adds that the current Bush administration's Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative "good but not sufficient"

If its GOOD then why do you need an -

Major Cyber Security Overhaul

You need a major overhaul only when the situation is bad getting worse.

If it is good & you want to make it better then make people in the dept work harder & better- Additional funding will not get you the results.

Get more value for the money spent...

Also where will the funds for this initiative/overhaul come from, after paying billions in bailouts & other economic stimulus packages.

Add to this he has still to finance the wars in Iraq & Afganistan.

Printing more money does NOT solve the problem,neither huge budget deficits help in anyway.


Get more & better results with less money !

By eye smite on 12/9/2008 8:45:43 AM , Rating: 3
are you kidding? His was just an initiative to get things rolling. Criminal activities on the net have gone unchecked for the most part for over a decade, this is nothing new. lol

By crystal clear on 12/9/2008 9:12:03 AM , Rating: 2
Criminal activities have gone unchecked because people in the dept & those managing it were NOT working hard enough or better enough to stop it.

So what do you do ?

Fire those people & hire better people to do the job.

Get better value for your money-thats the attitude Govt should take & NOT more funding.

By Mitch101 on 12/9/2008 9:37:00 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure how they could lock things down but lets face it certain countries are not famous for their internet content but famous for their internet scams.

Isn't the 8th Annual Nigerian e-mail conference coming up?

Granted some feel if your dumb enough to fall for this you deserve it but again there were how many AOL users?

The potential for crime spans countries where certain laws do not apply and fear of authorities is next to non existent. Smackdown cant/doesn't happen often enough to be any deterrent. Still something needs to be done.

The Internet is some ways is really a way for someone to become an international thief. I'm glad someone is at least acknowledging this is a problem.

Granted the Gov record hasn't shown any clues to technology related issues but time will tell.

By foolsgambit11 on 12/9/2008 1:34:00 PM , Rating: 2
This isn't the kind of issue they're talking about with cybersecurity. They're concerned about the loss of control or loss of operational capabilities of critical government IT infrastructure.

By Mitch101 on 12/9/2008 2:44:45 PM , Rating: 2
Homeland security would include protecting individuals/business as well as government facilities/infrastructure.

I hate to say it but it needs to be a wide scope element almost world police in a sense.

Having a third would country attacking something like our banking industry for credit card and personal information as an example. Otherwise third world countries could try constantly without fear of any retribution.

Might as well have Pakistan attempt stealing information from US citizens and never worry that they will be arrested or be held accountable.

Third world locations are generally where viruses are believed to be released. We almost need a United States firewall and AV scanner.

While a terror group might not be able to physically get across the border a cyber terrorist isn't checked at the US trunk lines and turned away. Come on in take what you like can be worse because we cant get our hands on them so easily.

By crystal clear on 12/10/2008 8:36:25 AM , Rating: 2
Hey Mitch read this-

Security threat report: 2009

By Yames on 12/9/2008 2:05:58 PM , Rating: 3
You obviously don't work in the field. Its the bureaucracy and funding that keeps our hands tied.

By Spivonious on 12/9/2008 9:29:09 AM , Rating: 2
Didn't you know? Bureaucracy solves problems, just look at the "car czar".

By crystal clear on 12/9/2008 9:45:41 AM , Rating: 2
And yes those "car czar" after they recieve their share of the bailout funds will say

Good but not sufficient.....

To redefine Bureaucracy -

Bureaucracy is a charity organization

By Screwballl on 12/9/2008 10:35:34 AM , Rating: 1
The Democrats are pushing for Socialism, and not in a good way.

The only way to lock down the internet is to put it under government control, one side effect is that RIAA and MPAA get a much larger say in how things should be run.

The only way to keep the car companies from going under is to put it under government control.

Congress and the White House inched toward a financial rescue of the Big Three auto makers, negotiating legislation that would give the U.S. government a substantial ownership stake in the industry...

Greg Hitt, The Wall Street Journal

The only way to keep private financial institutions from going under is to force government control.

Cyber-security should be contracted out with trusted companies, not throwing money at something that will end up under government control.

Obama and Cybersecurity
By JonIscream on 12/9/2008 9:07:55 AM , Rating: 2
The government is the least competent group in our society. Why oh, why, do people think that Barry is going to make it competent? Sorcery? I know that no one ever listens to what Obama says. If they did he would not be the President Elect. A perfect example of that is what he said about not smoking in the White House. He did not say that he would not smoke in the White House. He said that no "No Smoking" rules would be broken. Who makes the No Smoking rules for the White House?
Children, you never know what they will put in their mouth.

RE: Obama and Cybersecurity
By joemoedee on 12/9/2008 9:19:14 AM , Rating: 2
. He did not say that he would not smoke in the White House. He said that no "No Smoking" rules would be broken. Who makes the No Smoking rules for the White House?

Hillary Clinton.

Just think how her life would have been different if Bill could have just smoked that cigar...


RE: Obama and Cybersecurity
By jdole on 12/9/2008 11:04:34 AM , Rating: 2
So the alternative is to do nothing (unacceptable), or have private industry run our countries Cybersecurity. What a great idea that would be, be beholden to some company that will give lackluster performance and cost us a fortune (see Haliburton in Iraq).

Of course, somehow that countries that are attacking us (China and Russia) are government run programs that seem to be working just fine on attacking us.

So apparently government run entities can work, but according to some posters here it's just ours that can't.

Cyber Kaiser?
By Keith Richard Radford Jr on 12/9/2008 1:23:21 PM , Rating: 2
For years our mindless yet quite focused cyber cops have had sex on their minds explicitly though sex is good and easy to look at all day long, our policing agency has missed the mark completely enjoying the cat and Mickey Mouse effect of shaming and abusing citizens who have done their time removing the person from society by way of credit punishment removing homes and businesses, forcing them to live under bridges wile flipping their homes through state school programs that are unconstitutional and down right wrong. We all know about these folks up coming law suites while they sit in judgment in jails wondering why they missed the mark. The cyber threat exists but our short sited bumpkin’s cyber cops miss the fact that X-rated DVD makes no money next to a bootlegged copy of Lady and the Tramp, and the sell of fraudulent software. Our cyber connection keeps Jets in the air, and the big three love that while spewing fumes to get bailouts and securing their future with their multi million dollar pay scale, which is pale in comparison to number of school council members who make just short of a half million per year while they can not find money to buy history books or fund curriculum to teach sex education classes. These cyber cops like sitting on their butts pretending to be little girls but, ask yourself how long do you really what to feed and cloth these delusional cyber cops when our software bought and paid for is being used to infringe on the American Dream by unconstitutional laws?

RE: Cyber Kaiser?
By bodar on 12/9/2008 2:03:33 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure this is English, but I have no idea what you're saying.

DHS issues
By foolsgambit11 on 12/9/2008 1:54:48 PM , Rating: 2
Despite the experts who know much better than me in this field, I'm going to throw my two cents in and say that cybersecurity should remain within the purview of the DHS. It was formed for the purpose of integrating our domestic national security concerns under one roof. Even attacks from coming from abroad like foreign terrorist attacks. Their job is to make the U.S. a 'hard target' for U.S. enemies to attack.

Their job is national security prevention, protection, preparedness, response, analysis and information sharing. There's no doubt that the have to work in concert with the U.S.'s foreign intelligence services (CIA, NSA, Military Intelligence, State Department) as well as domestic services (Transportation, Energy, Justice) in order to implement an effective cybersecurity strategy. But it negates some of the main points for creation of the DHS (intelligence integration, unified national security strategy) to give primary control of cybersecurity to another agency, or to create an entirely new agency to deal with it.

This is not to say that the DHS is doing the job as well as is needed currently. But it is the best government department to handle the issue; it just needs to put greater emphasis on the problem - possibly at the expense of protecting small towns in Kansas from WMD, or physical border security (in favor of intelligence-based prevention of terrorist ingress, for instance). I'm not inside the department, especially not at a high enough level to have the information necessary to decide where our resources may be under- or over-extended, nor the efficacy of specific programs, so I can't say where effort should be reallocated from, but I would say that cybersecurity should be a higher priority.

RE: DHS issues
By Soundgardener on 12/9/2008 2:10:35 PM , Rating: 2
This is not to say that the DHS is doing the job as well as is needed currently. But it is the best government department to handle the issue; it just needs to put greater emphasis on the problem - possibly at the expense of protecting small towns in Kansas from WMD, or physical border security (in favor of intelligence-based prevention of terrorist ingress, for instance).

I fully agree. Let's set up a propaganda agency to do something it's entirely unsuited for and leave Kansas to the ravages of the EVIL TERRORISTS AND THEIR WMD. Like, um. the Wicked Witch of the West.

What planet are you on?

On page 2...
By Sungpooz on 12/9/2008 7:11:46 AM , Rating: 2
Research, Training, and Education will help equip the United States for leadership and security in cyberspace.

I think, for the daily mass of internet users, it's just common sense that you really can't get "A FREE IPHONE* ... *Credit Card & Social Security # Necessary".

By amanojaku on 12/9/2008 7:45:44 AM , Rating: 2
Ask Al Gore. He created the Internet; tell HIM to fix it! ;-)

Obviously I'm confused but...
By Cuddlez on 12/9/2008 3:52:30 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't "cyber-security" basically what the NSA does? Aside from wire-taps and all that other stuff, aren't they already pretty much equipped to handle foreign hacking? I don't see the need for yet another federal security agency.

What do we have now?

US Marshals
Secret Service

That's eight, not including the military itself...

By kcsaid on 12/9/2008 5:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
You guys at the CSIS are smart folks, but I think you need to take a step back and think like a thief and a fraudster. Thieves don't care if institutions/merchants/services offer iron clad credentialing unless it's the only way possible to gain access. For example, Microsoft has some new Identity Management tools that "in theory" allow consumers to verify their Identity to merchants. While this sounds great - thieves really could care less if I am able to authenticate myself. Why? Because the online merchant world is not just going to say - "ok all you shoppers, unless you use this new Identity tool, you can't buy".

I'll grant that you have the right focus on privacy and civil liberties. But you are going to have one heck of a time convincing consumers that they should put their entire identity into the hands of the Gov’t to control. Identity Management should be anonymous and should be controlled by the consumer themselves. I for one would like the Gov’t to stay out of my identity. You may say - " …hey you can't have it both ways. If you want protection, then you the consumer have to give up some info.." Well, that's not entirely true - I guess you will have to think about it some more. :-)

By ipay on 12/10/2008 10:59:00 AM , Rating: 2
If I wanted to turn America into a totalitarian police state, the first thing I would do is take control of the media and communication channels of the country, so that people can only communicate ideas that I agree with.

Controlling the mainstream media is easy; I'd just do the same things they did under Stalin or Hitler. But what about the internet? They didn't have that then. The internet allows unfettered free speech, political protest, and organization of resistance groups. But the people would never let the government restrict what they can do online, would they?

Maybe we can still get some good ideas from the Nazis: "Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked... It works the same way in any country."

So I would tell the American public that they are being attacked. I'd fill the mainstream media with horror stories about computer hackers, foreign intrusions, music and movie theft and pedophiles running rampant online, and then the public would want me to do things to protect them. I'd create a government office dedicated to "protecting" Americans from "cyberattack", and then use it to restrict what they can say and do online.

They should not have taken cyber space siriously the..
By on 12/9/08, Rating: -1
"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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