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[] Cyberspace & homeland security,
------------------------------------------------------------- Today
November 29, 2001
      Cyberspace a key battleground in homeland security

      By Joshua Dean
      jdean -!
- govexec -

      In his new role, Richard Clarke, the President?s cybersecurity
advisor, is working to
      protect the public and private sector services that Americans
depend on.

      In an interview with Government Executive, Clarke described one of
his first
      projects--GovNet, a super-secure voice and data network for
federal civilian

      ?Some federal functions really can?t suffer from a network
outage,? he said, citing
      the air traffic control system, manned space flight and the
operations of the Federal
      Emergency Management Agency during hurricane relief efforts as

      While Clarke doesn?t expect GovNet to the ?silver bullet? that
keeps federal
      computers safe, he is confident the proposed network would
effectively address at
      least one issue: the federal government?s vulnerability to
?distributed denial of
      service? attacks. Hackers use such attacks to crash networks by
flooding them with
      bogus information sent by hundreds, if not thousands, of infected
computers, also
      known as ?slaves? or ?zombies.?

      ?Even if you manage to secure the computers and networks of an
enterprise,? he
      said, ?that enterprise can still be taken down by a distributed
denial of service

      But a dedicated network is impervious to all manner of denial of
service attacks,
      Clarke said. However, such networks are not 100 percent protected
from viruses.
      But, when viruses do appear, they appear long after the initial
outbreak. This gives
      systems administrators a leg up on handling problems, Clarke said.
?The thing you
      can do on a private network is monitor the hell out of it,? he

      GovNet is not intended to replace agencies? Internet access,
rather, it is to be used
      for critical internal functions. Secure intranets already in
operation in at federal
      agencies would be migrated to GovNet, Clarke said.

      Clarke?s efforts to protect federal networks fit into the larger
effort of securing the
      nation?s critical infrastructures?the transportation, banking,
finance, electric and
      telecommunications systems.

      Clarke heads the President?s Critical Infrastructure Protection
Board, a White
      House entity created by executive order in October.

      The Bush administration?s critical infrastructure protection
effort is 98 percent
      focused on cyberspace and 2 percent on physical structures that
support cyber
      networks, he said.

      ?If you cut a fiber network with a backhoe, you?ve done as much
damage as a
      distributed denial of service attack,? he said. Clarke also warned
of vulnerabilities to
      ?critical nodes,? physical locations where numerous services
coincide and whose
      destruction would disrupt national and economic security. ?There
are physical
      locations that have to be hardened and protected,? he said. A
subcommittee of the
      Critical Infrastructure Protection Board is working on the


Olivier Minkwitz___________________________________________
Dipl. Pol., wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
HSFK Hessische Stiftung für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung
PRIF Peace Research Institute Frankfurt
Leimenrode 29 60322 Frankfurt a/M Germany
Tel +49 (0)69 9591 0422  Fax +49 (0)69 5584 81
Mobil   0172  3196 006
minkwitz -!
- hsfk -

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