State, embassies brace for Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

More stuff from the State Department. 12/21 <:)=

By Joshua Dean

The State Department is bracing for an onslaught of activity during the Y2K rollover by preparing its embassies, Web site and network for everything from power outages to cyber-terrorism, officials said Monday.

State employees will be working around the clock during the Y2K rollover in a command center designed to receive communications from embassies around the world. The embassies will report into the center hourly on country-related infrastructure issues.

State will use its Web site ( to help disperse Y2K information from around the world to the public. State's Web site has Y2K reports on almost every country. Those reports will be updated as information arrives.

As a result, State expects an unprecedented amount of traffic on its Web site. The site receives 250,000 hits per day on normal business days and 600,000 hits per day during world crises.

Because information is key to State's Y2K operations, officials have taken steps to ensure the safety and integrity of embassies' data and communications lines. This includes testing critical systems for Y2K compliance as well as protecting against cyber-attacks.

State has equipped its outposts with means of emergency communication, backup fuel and power generators. State's building in Washington is also equipped with backup power in the event that the city loses electricity.

Officials at a Monday press conference said State has also ensured that devices such as alarms, locks and closed circuit televisions will be operational.

Visa-issuing systems are also Y2K compliant, however, State will turn off non-immigrant visa issuing systems for two days and immigrant visa issuing systems for two weeks. This is so resources can be diverted to assist U.S. citizens abroad who may be adversely affected by Y2K-related conditions.

State has also attempted to protect its systems from cyber-attacks. The Y2K rollover is a time that has the potential for violence and the possible breakdown of critical infrastructures, said David Carpenter, assistant secretary of State for diplomatic security. Possible cyber-attacks against State include viruses, worms and denial of service attacks, said Fernando Burbano, the department's chief information officer.

State has dug in by adding password controls, firewalls, anti-virus software and e-mail scanners, Burbano said. State will monitor its networks during the rollover in an attempt to identify and stop cyber-attacks as they occur.

A recent penetration test validated State's computer network protection efforts, Carpenter said.

-- Sysman (, December 22, 1999

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