Political Rants by Judy @ 1:17 PM
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Wednesday at an information-technology security conference in Washington, former CIA Director George J Tenet is calling for new security measures to protect against terrorist attacks on the USA via the internet.

Quoth Tenet:

I know that these actions will be controversial in this age when we still think the Internet is a free and open society with no control or accountability, but ultimately the Wild West must give way to governance and control.

[The Internet] represents a potential Achilles’ heel for our financial stability and physical security if the networks we are creating are not protected.

[al Qaeda] is undoubtedly mapping vulnerabilities and weaknesses in our telecommunications networks.

Tenet believes that the open architecture of the internet which allows activities such as web surfing, Google searches and a myriad of blogs, including this one, makes the system more vulnerable. Modernization of industries by creating connections to the internet makes the industries, in turn, open to attack. It is Tenet’s opinion that “intelligence services, military organizations and non-state actors,” are researching the feasibility of expoiting these vulnerabilities.

The Department Of Homeland Security has the accountability to protect the internet from terrorism. But the former Director of the National Cyber Security Division, Amit Yoran, resigned last October, amid rumors of frustration and clashes with superiors, after giving a single day’s notice of his intent to leave.

Under Yoran, the National Cyber Security Division was responsible for implementing recommendations in the Bush Administration’s National Strategy To Secure Cyberspace. As part of this initiative, Homeland Security established a cyberalert system that warns of virus alerts and Internet attacks as they occur, along with detailed instructions on protection. They also mapped the Governement’s networked devices and began routinely identifying US computers and networks that were victims of attacks and break-ins.

Tenet would like to go beyond identification. He says that access to networks like the World Wide Web might need to be limited to those who can show they take security seriously. That might eliminate quite a few home users, whose virus-laden computers are used as zombies in various types of attacks, from any access to the Internet.

Tenet’s suggestion to limit access does not go against the National Strategy To Secure Cyberspace, which states:

The federal government could not—and, indeed, should not—secure the computer
networks of privately owned banks, energy companies, transportation firms, and other parts of the private sector. The federal government should likewise not intrude into homes and small businesses, into universities, or state and local agencies and departments to create secure computer networks. Each American who depends on cyberspace, the network of information networks, must secure the part that they own or for which they are responsible.

The federal government need not intrude anywhere in order to exclude.

One wonders how it would be determined who is serious about security, and thus worthy of access to the Web? One also wonders how many more freedoms must be given up in the name of national security?

The national press was excluded from this event at Tenet’s request. Wonder why?



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