DHS failing on cybersecurity front?

Security expert Peter Trippett compares DHS management of cybersecurity to FEMA's relief efforts: confusion, no leadership.

The Register reports that Peter Tippett, a recent member of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee, said that the Dept. of Homeland Security is failing to effectively combat cyberattacks.

Tippett, who is now chief technology officer with managed security firm CyberTrust, compared Homeland Security's posture in defending against electronic attacks to the lack of preparation by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) in managing relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina. "Something similar happened when Homeland Security got responsibility for both FEMA and computer security. When responsibility was transferred from the White House to Homeland Security good people left the top. There's confusion over reporting lines and no leadership," Tippett told El Reg.

 Tippett also advocates a radical reordering of security protocol.

Tippett advocates the wider adoption of basic security defences rather than government standards, which "don't translate into fewer hacker attacks". It would be better if PCs denied actions by default rather than permitting anything that was not known to be bad, he argued. Tippett is credited with creating one of the first commercial anti-virus products, which later became Symantec's Norton Anti- Virus. He is highly critical of the industry he helped create.

"The anti-virus industry is not interested in default deny because if they did that they wouldn't be able to sell updates," he said. "Information security problems are getting worse, even though people are spending more. Throwing money at the problem isn't helping. All the market wants to do is sell new gizmos," he added.