Hackers are already targeting critical U.S. infrastructure, and have even come close to bringing down segments of them, according to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary Janet Napolitano. Among the systems that have been targeted are those for finance and transportation, and Napolitano warns that "we all have to be concerned about a network intrusion that shuts down part of the nation's infrastructure in such a fashion that it results in a loss of life."
Napolitano says the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team responded to more than 100,000 incident reports and issued more than 5,000 actionable cybersecurity alerts and information products in fiscal year 2011. She stresses that Congress must take action to shield critical infrastructure, and one of the challenges in protecting against cyberattacks is the fact that existing international law, rules of conflict, and government policies have failed to keep pace with evolving cyberthreats.
The Obama administration recently issued a proposal mapping out how DHS and the private sector should collaborate to devise cyberplans to protect vital infrastructure, which includes requirements for a federal data breach notification statute and a call for harsher punishments for computer crimes.
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA
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