Saturday, September 25, 2010

Proposed Secure Network for Critical Infrastructure Draws Fire

Henry Kenyon writes on

The leader of the U.S. Cyber Command wants to develop a secure computer network to defend civilian government agencies and critical civilian infrastructure and industries.

Gen. Keith Alexander, who has dual responsibilities as commander of the Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, testified Sept. 23 before the House Armed Services Committee about the new command’s role in defending federal and commercial networks. He suggested the creation of a restricted network that would allow the government to provide greater protection to vital online operations and critical infrastructure — such as financial networks, commercial aviation systems and the national power grid — from Internet-based attacks.

The New York Times reported that the proposed network, which Alexander referred to as “a secure zone, a protected zone,” would provide essential civilian government and commercial networks with protection similar to secret military and diplomatic communications networks. However, he did not say where the boundaries between this new secure network and the Internet would be or how appropriate user access would be granted. He added that the White House is working on a policy review to determine the best approach and whether it will require Congress to grant new powers.

But Alexander's proposal skimps on specifics, said Martin Libicki, a senior management scientist at Rand Corp.

More here.


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