Update: It would seem that Richard Stiennon agrees with me on the concept of a group of experts to advise, also on keeping away from spending ridiculous amounts of money.
Cyber-terrorism... ah, what a fancy buzz word that is. Defined on Wikipedia as:
“The premeditated use of disruptive activities, or the threat thereof, against computers and/or networks, with the intention to cause harm or further social, ideological, religious, political or similar objectives. Or to intimidate any person in furtherance of such objectives.”
Besides being a buzz word, it is fast becoming a major point in the presidential race, with Democrat Barack Obama blasting the Bush administration's plan to counter the cyber-terror threat (see LA Times article) and Republican John McCain also chiming in on the subject. JR Raphael, from TechNewsWorld, wrote:
The presidential campaign is turning a focus to cyberterrorism. Democrat Barack Obama has unveiled plans for a "national cyber advisor" position as well as updated standards for protecting computer-based infrastructures if he is elected. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, has spoken of the need for increased cyber security in recent weeks as well.
Sweet! I nominate myself. Barak, give me a call, I can be the cyber czar you're looking for.
Seriously though, these positions have been created and filled before, what we really need is to create a panel of security experts and government officials that can make educated decisions. I could go on to nominations, but that could get controversial. I'm sure we can all think of top researchers, C-level people, Partners, etc. that would fit this group well. Back to the story:
Already this year, the current administration has increased its efforts to protect America from Internet-based attacks, with plans for a US$30 billion effort to expand federal network monitoring over the next seven years -- but Obama, taking the strongest stand on the issue, insists it's not enough.
Speaking at Purdue University on Wednesday, Obama said he intended to make cyber security a "top priority," with an advisor reporting directly to him rather than to the Department of Homeland Security .
"I'll bring together government, industry and academia to determine the best ways to guard the infrastructure that supports our power," Obama stated.
Wonderful! So like I said, a panel of top researchers, C-level folks, partners, etc...
Back to Mr. Obama:
"We need to prevent terrorists or spies from hacking into our national security networks. We need to build the capacity to identify, isolate and respond to any cyber attack. And we need to develop new standards for the cyber security that protects our most important infrastructure -- from electrical grids to sewage systems, from air traffic control to our markets," he continued.
Spot on, but we also need to create a group that helps government officials make wise choices on matters. No one wants to see another "researched leads to blowing up a SCADA device" on CNN. To that matter, lets make sure we spend sometime protecting SCADA networks as well. Back to JR Raphael's story:
McCain also has touched on the subject in speeches this month. During a talk in Indianapolis on July 1, he said the nation needs to spend far more money on cyber-security and high-tech protection.
"In this new century, and especially with the threat of terrorist attacks, every state, local and federal agency concerned with public safety should have access to a shared repository of information," McCain stated. "In the case of any suspected terrorist, we must make certain that law enforcement knows who they are, where they are, and what they're up to."
Good, so maybe either candidate will be able to get their hands around this problem. Somehow I personally feel that Obama is going to be the candidate that puts more effort into this. He's been more outspoken on the matter, plus, I could almost see Mr. Obama on Twitter, twitting away, being concerned about getting hacked... again. In any case, this is something our country does need to put more effort into, but let's do it in a smart way. I've commented on this before, and I hope to see major change, it'd be nice to prevent things like Hacking the Vote, Hacking SCADA, etc.
Mr. Future President, while you're at it, could you also do something about all of the civil liberties we're losing because of the 'war on terrorism'? That'd be great. Thanks!