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[] The government wants you -- to be a cyber-security soldier,

"The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace (...) closes for public
comment on Monday, but the fact that any American can read the document
( and e-mail
recommendations directly to the authors is the best indicator that the
administration is moving in the right direction."
Das kommt drauf an, was dann aus den Kommentaren der engagierten Bürger
(oder doch: der Industrielobby?) gemacht wird, nicht wahr?

San Jose Mercury News
Nov. 14, 2002

The government wants you -- to be a cyber-security soldier

By Steven E. Roberts and Aaron D. Rosenbaum

The Bush administration has re-energized its push for a Department of
Homeland Security. In addition to ``traditional'' security measures, the
proposed department would work to safeguard the Internet. The need for
cyber-security was underscored last month by an attack on servers that
maintain the directory of domain addresses on which the Internet
depends. While the Oct. 21 attack demonstrated America's continuing
vulnerability to cyber-terrorism, the real danger may be the fact that
this cyber-blitz received so little attention.

Before Sept. 11, 2001, only the fringes of the computer security
community warned of a ``digital Pearl Harbor.'' By targeting America's
critical electronic infrastructures -- power plants, airport control
towers, banking systems and communication networks -- terrorists or
rogue nations could attack the United States using nothing more than
ones and zeros and a stream of electrons. Ultimately, Sept. 11 made
cyber-terrorism a mainstream national security issue, but defense
against the threat remains more intention than substance.

Attacking the networks that run American businesses and infrastructure
would cause precisely the sort of damage terrorists seek. Al-Qaida
showed interest in  cyber-terrorism: U.S. investigators now know that
Al-Qaida frequented Internet websites that offer hacking software and
programming instructions for electronic switches that operate
communication grids and power networks.

Rather than strengthen cyber-defenses against information warfare, most
policy-makers have focused attention and money on traditional methods of
terror prevention. Failing to make cyber-defense an equal part of
homeland defense leaves America open and vulnerable; physical security
cannot exist without its electronic equivalent.

However, unlike most homeland security initiatives where citizens must
rely on the government to ensure safeguards, security in cyberspace is
not a passive endeavor. Though we often fail to realize it, collective
action is the best way to prevent and stop terrorism in cyberspace. Each
person who logs on to the World Wide Web has a role to play.

Ironically, users can create a more secure electronic environment simply
by updating anti-virus software or installing a firewall. Cyber-attacks
often rely on ``proxy attackers'' -- maybe your home computer -- to
originate or relay a flood of e-mail and ``pings.'' Firewalls are
precisely the tools that impede these attacks.

The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace is a significant, but
under-publicized Bush administration proposal that outlines these roles.
It seeks to secure the Internet and crucial infrastructures by enlisting
the public. From computer security experts to lone Web-surfers, the
National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace seeks public participation -- in
fact, requires it -- for successful implementation.

The strategy closes for public comment on Monday, but the fact that any
American can read the document
( and e-mail
recommendations directly to the authors is the best indicator that the
administration is moving in the right direction. Properly implemented,
the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace can help Americans become
digital citizen soldiers, raising their awareness while enlisting them
in defense of their national interests.

This is not to suggest that the Internet should become an electronic
Fort Knox. Security at all costs would undermine the accessibility that
is the Internet's lifeblood. Conversely, involving the public in the
defense of the Web would be true to the participatory spirit of the
Internet. By energizing public support and raising awareness of the
perilous side of cyberspace, we can ensure that cyberspace retains its
value, yet loses some of its destructive potential.

Steven E. Roberts is an information security consultant in Boca Raton,
Fla. Aaron D. Rosenbaum is a technology consultant in Herndon, Va.

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