TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Homeland Security Helpless Where Internet Attacks Concerned

Homeland Security Helpless Where Internet Attacks Concerned

Lisa Minter (
Thu, 26 May 2005 23:54:21 -0500

Homeland Security can't stop online threats - GAO

Department of Homeland Security staffing problems and a lack of authority
are hampering its efforts to protect the country from Internet-based
attacks, according to a congressional report released on Thursday.

The department's National Cyber Security Division has not yet developed a
blueprint for recovering from a large Internet attack, nor has it assessed
the state of online threats and vulnerabilities, the Government
Accountability Office found.

"Until it overcomes the many challenges it faces and completes critical
activities, DHS cannot effectively function as the cyber security focal
point intended by law and national policy," the report said, echoing the
complaints of private-sector security experts.

The division has also had a hard time developing partnerships with the
private businesses that control 85 percent of the Internet's
infrastructure, the GAO said.

The division has, however, overseen a rapid-response team that can quickly
get the word out when new online threats arise, and it has also set up
forums that allow U.S. security officials to share threat information with
law enforcers.

But the GAO found that overall the Homeland Security Department has not
completely addressed any of its 13 key computer-security responsibilities.

The GAO said the department should set milestones to measure its progress,
but noted that the fixes it recommended in an earlier report had not been

In a response, the Homeland Security Department said it did not need
to set new milestones as they are already contained in its original
plan, and did not agree that there are any "valid" recommendations
from the previous report that have yet to be addressed.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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