Feds Say Y2K Experience Aids In Cyberdefense--ICC (Federal Computer Week)

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Much of this information came out last week... just more of the similar.

However... for all the Y2K testing going on this year, THINK about the implications in John Koskinens statement below..."This is in effect our first real-time test...and ultimately, it is a great way for all of us to learn from this experience."


AUGUST 2, 1999

Feds say Y2K experience aids in cyberdefense

BY DIANE FRANK (diane_frank@fcw.com)


[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]

The Senate last week took its first close look at how the expertise and systems being developed to deal with the Year 2000 problem can be used now and in the future against intentional attacks on the nation's infrastructure.

Testifying before the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, federal experts said experience gained by a special coordination center created to gather and share information on problems caused by the Year 2000 date change could be used to confront infrastructure protection issues. However, the center itself may not be needed beyond next March.

"Clearly, there will be much of value that will last beyond the [Year 2000 Information Coordination Center]," said John Koskinen, chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion. "This is in effect our first real-time test...and ultimately, it is a great way for all of us to learn from this experience."

President Clinton recently officially created the ICC, which will gather and share information on incidents worldwide caused by the Year 2000 date change. That information then will be used by agencies, state and local governments and the private sector for a coordinated response. The Senate committee is considering expanding its mission beyond the Year 2000 problem and its life span beyond Feb. 29 to oversee the information security and critical infrastructure protection efforts at the congressional level.

But federal officials involved in infrastructure protection issues told the committee that the structures already are in place in the public and private sectors to handle critical infrastructure protection. The officials added that the ICC's information sharing mechanism and the partnerships created throughout government and industry as part of that sharing will be key when dealing with any incidents in the future when someone brings down a computer system that controls a country's transportation, communication or energy infrastructures.

"Our collective efforts on Y2K should provide valuable lessons learned for the continuing activities of the NIPC and the federal lead agencies in dealing with cyber incidents after Y2K," said Michael Vatis, chief of the National Infrastructure Protection Center at the FBI.

It is hoped that the experience gained from fixing the Year 2000 bug will cut down on the time it will take to develop future responses and management to critical infrastructure attacks, said John Tritak, director of the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office.

The Defense Department has plenty of experience dealing with cyberprotection issues, but it plans to rely heavily on the structures that are being put in place within the department to support the ICC, said Richard Schaeffer, director of infrastructure and information assurance at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence.

Experts throughout government and industry have started to refer to the Year 2000 problem as the first real test of protecting the critical infrastructure of the United States against computer system failures. Although any problems caused by the Year 2000 date change will be unintentional, focus is turning to the possible effect on the nation's infrastructure if someone deliberately attacked a system in an attempt to bring it down.

Committee chairman Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and vice chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) also raised several possibilities for more concrete ways that agencies and industry can contribute, including continuing the ICC in the role of a critical infrastructure protection center, creating a new organization to oversee the coordination and even creating a "government chief information officer," who would be at the level of an assistant to the president.

The key to infrastructure protection is how fast the response time is because the longer the response takes, the longer you are vulnerable, said Winn Schwartau, information warfare author and consultant. "We need a fundamental shift in the way we approach security," Schwartau said. "It requires an empowerment much farther down the chain of command."

[Interesting statement.]

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), August 02, 1999


Choice "A"... TEOTWAWKI

Choice "B"... BIG BROTHER on a massive scale

[I hate these mulitple choice exams]

-- Linda (lwmb@psln.com), August 02, 1999.

Try this.


Y2K - ICC Will Not Become FIDNET By David McGuire, Newsbytes July 31, 1999

Despite congressional suggestions to the contrary, the Administration's Y2K Information Coordination Center (ICC) will not be transformed into a permanent cyber-crime-fighting unit, John Koskinen, chair of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, told Newsbytes today.

"We are not going to turn the ICC into FIDNET," Koskinen said after testifying at a hearing held by the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem to discuss the scope of the ICC. While still in the planning phase, the Federal Intrusion Detection Network (FIDNET) will reportedly track Internet users' online behavior, with the ostensible purpose of preventing "cyber-attacks."

Some senators on the Committee hinted that the ICC - which is designed to be dismantled a few months after the date rollover - may be particularly well suited to address longer-term cyber-crime issues.

"The Y2K experience has made me aware, in a way I never was before, of just how vulnerable we are to some sort of computer breakdown (or attack)" said Special Committee Chairman Robert Bennett, R-Utah, said at today's hearing. "I come out of the Y2K experience with a clear conviction that there is still a great deal of vigilance needed."

But while Koskinen agrees that the expertise of the ICC should be preserved and passed on to federal authorities dealing with cyber- crime issues, he disputes the notion that it would be well suited to becoming a permanent federal entity.

"Unless everybody all of a sudden decides that it is a good idea, we don't think (the ICC) is structured to (handle) full-time, ongoing monitoring processes," Koskinen said.

The ICC, which is overseen by the President's Council, is charged with gathering and disseminating Y2K readiness information from and to government and private sector sources. The ICC will serve as a Y2K "early- warning system," monitoring events as they transpire over the weekend of Jan. 1.

At the hearing, Koskinen also dismissed the notion put forth by Bennett and others that there should be a new Cabinet post created to specifically address cyber-crime and cyber-terrorism concerns within the federal government.

The Office of Management and Budget already has significant resources to deal with cyber-crime issues without appointing a new federal chief information officer, Koskinen testified. But Bennett questioned that assertion, suggesting that concerns about cyber-attacks may warrant a full-time government official who has the ear of the president.

Bennett would like to see some sort of new Administration cyber-crime post created, Bennett staffer Don Meyer told Newsbytes after the hearing.

Today's hearing may also have been a precursor to eventually refocusing the Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem into a cyber-terrorism committee. Newsbytes reported last month that Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., was considering restructuring the Committee into a permanent entity focusing on cyber- crime and other "non-traditional threats" to the nation's infrastructure.

"If any (previous) action of this committee was a trial balloon for expanding the scope of the committee, (today's hearing) was a Zeppelin," a committee staffer told Newsbytes. Today's hearing was initially intended to focus primarily on the ICC and its $40 million funding commitment, but widespread debate over the FIDNET proposal changed the tone of the hearing significantly.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), August 02, 1999.

I come out of the Y2K experience with a clear conviction that there is still a great deal of vigilance needed." Sr Bennett.

He hasn't 'come out' of anything yet. Wait until New years and we will see what he has come out of. Big Brother watching us might be the least of our problems. Might get damn boring watching me and the kids out sloppin' the hogs, and digging the potatoes, while hubby rakes hay.

-- Hannah (Hannah@Colonial America.com), August 02, 1999.

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