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[] Homeland Defense konzentriert sich auf sichere Netze,

By George Leopold
EE Times
June 14, 2002 (12:09 p.m. EST)  
WASHINGTON - U.S. homeland-defense officials are moving increased
security for the nation's information networks to the forefront as
they struggle to prevent new terror attacks.

With President George W. Bush's proposal to create a Department of
Homeland Defense, cybersecurity has been thrust to the top of the
post-9/11 agenda. Planners said a future attack would most likely be
different from last September's, with information, financial and
transportation networks thought to be at the top of the target list.

"The infrastructure is the target," Paul Kurtz, senior director for
national security at the White House Office of Cyberspace Security,
told a conference here Thursday (June 13). "The worst-case scenario
can happen."

Kurtz urged industry executives meeting here to "think about a
coordinated attack against the physical infrastructure, the
information infrastructure."

The Bush administration moved to codify cybersecurity procedures after
9/11 through an executive order last October designed to secure U.S.  
information networks. The order was being prepared before the 9/11
attacks, Kurtz said. The goal of the plan is to ensure that network
disruptions are infrequent, short and manageable.

"We're busy now trying to plug the holes" in existing
telecommunications networks, Kurtz said, including "backup dial
tones." Verizon, the primary carrier on the East Coast, lost its dial
tone in the New York area after the World Trade Center was struck by
hijacked aircraft last September.

A national strategy for improving network security and reliability
also includes building security into future networks and hardening the
Internet through more-secure network protocols.

Research labs mobilized

The government is also trying to mobilize federal research labs to
work on cybersecurity solutions not being developed by industry while
cutting down on redundant research projects, Kurtz said.

The proposed homeland security agency, something the Bush
administration opposed until its June 6 announcement, would attempt to
harness the specific skills of different agencies while breaking up
bureaucratic logjams that prevent quick action. Kurtz called the Bush
proposal a "force multiplier," adding that "most of this is up for
discussion right now." That's a reference to intense negotiations
between the White House and Congress on the structure and authority of
the proposed agency, which would not include the embattled FBI or CIA.

Industry executives at the conference embraced the idea of
government-industry partnerships to boost security on the Internet,
but some cautioned that the homeland defense proposal could tackle
problems where there are none. "Let's not break what's not broken" as
efforts are made to improve network security, said Arthur Deacon, AT&T
vice president for network operations and service assurance.

The AT&T executive said cybersecurity on packet-switched networks is
"all about topology, not technology."

Proposals are also emerging to use higher-capacity wireless
technologies for public-safety applications when land lines are
knocked out. One would combine mobile radio networks on land with
mobile Internet Protocol (IP) technology to potentially offer
3-Mbit/second capacity.

OFDM tapped

The proposed wireless network for homeland defense is based on a
technology called flash-OFDM (orthogonal frequency-division
multiplex). Variations of the technology are used in Europe.

Northrop Grumman, a chief proponent of the technology, has
demonstrated flash-OFDM with a technology partner, Flarion
Technologies Inc. (Bedminster, N.J.), and has lined up Cisco Systems
Inc. as a strategic partner.

The IP-based system requires 10 MHz of spectrum to support as many as
5 million simultaneous users, said Royce Kincaid, program manager for
homeland defense at Northrop Grumman. The company is targeting the 24
MHz of spectrum in the 700-MHz band set aside by the Federal
Communications Commission for public-safety applications.

Kincaid said that government officials have urged the companies to
promote the technology, and the partners are meeting with regulators
shortly to discuss the possible allocation of spectrum for the
high-speed wireless network.

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