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[] Washinton Post zum neuen Cyber-Threat Warning System,

U.S. to Issue Cyber-Threat Warnings

By Jonathan Krim
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 28, 2004; 9:15 AM 

The federal government today announced a new, centralized system for
alerting the country to threats to computer systems, from business and
government networks to consumers' home machines.

The alert system, unveiled by the cybersecurity division of the
of Homeland Security, will be a clearinghouse of information on hacking,
viruses, worms and other forms of cyberterrorism. It will also be a
for consumers to learn about vulnerabilities to their systems, and what
do about them.

"We are focused on making the threats and recommended actions easier for
computer users to understand, prioritize and act upon," said Amit Yoran,
director of the cybersecurity division.

The move aims to make the government the trusted source of
information, which currently is disseminated by a variety of corporate,
research, government and quasi-public organizations.

Cyber-threats to national infrastructure, for example, have been the
of the old National Infrastructure Protection Center, which was housed
the FBI until the Homeland Security department was formed.

Several companies and research institutions have Web sites that track
worm and other threats round-the-clock, with many of them offering
programming solutions to network operators so they can fend off
attacks. And many firms sell consumers various wares for protecting
home systems while providing security information.

But Yoran said it important that such information come from a neutral

"The vendor community is focused on sales as well as on protecting their
clients," said Yoran, who recently took over the division after working
Symantec Corp., which sells Norton anti-virus and other security
"Coming from the U.S. government, the focus is solely on the public

John Pescatore, a computer-security analyst for the research and
firm Gartner Inc., said that it is especially important for consumers to
have a place to go that is not aimed at selling products.

Unlike the wealth of information that is available for companies,
not a lot that is unfiltered for consumers," he said.

Computer users will be able to sign up at the division's Web site,, for regular newsletters, tips and other information.

Alan Paller, head of the SANS Institute in Bethesda, a computer-security
research facility, said he sees value in the government being the
on identifying and tracking cyber-threats and vulnerabilities.

"The model is the National Weather Service," which collects primary
data, said Paller. "Everyone else is an interpreter." With
information, Paller said, "everyone is a collector. That model is

Because the government also has resources at the Defense Department and
coordinates with industry groups that share data, Paller said, "they
access to data a little earlier. If they will tell people earlier, that
make a difference."

Currently, several cyber-security companies race to be the first to put
alerts and suggest technical fixes.

At a Web site called the Internet Storm Center, SANS tracks
and threats, but Paller said he "wouldn't mind" if Yoran's team took on

Paller and Pescatore agreed that providing the public with more
is a first step toward diminishing the frequency and severity of
cyber-attacks, such as the MyDoom worm that currently is crippling many
computer systems.

The cyber-security division is currently working with industry trade
in formulating other strategies, as well as working on its own next

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