The United States is woefully unprepared for the challenges of 21st century cybersecurity, concludes a new report from the U.S. Commission on Cybersecurity, which calls for the establishment of a Center for Cybersecurity Operations to be supervised by a special White House advisor. The center would function as a new regulator of computer security in both the public and private sector, while active policing of government and corporate networks would incorporate new rules and a "red team" to test computers for flaws currently being exploited by cybercriminals. The report notes break-ins at the U.S. departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security, and Commerce, and at NASA and the National Defense University in 2007. For example, both military and corporate networks have been hit by the malicious agent.btz program, and the attacks have become more sophisticated and tougher to track down. The U.S. military has uncovered approximately 7 million unprotected electronic devices. Cybersecurity commission member Tom Kellermann says Homeland Security Department-led initiatives to bolster cybersecurity have been impeded by bureaucratic confusion and agencies and corporations' refusal to share information about data breaches. He adds that several members of the commission are working to persuade President-elect Barack Obama to take appropriate action. Obama's July 16 pledge to "declare our cyberinfrastructure a strategic asset" and to "bring together government, industry, and academia to determine the best ways to guard the infrastructure that supports our power," has given members hope, as has his promise to appoint a national cyber advisor who would report directly to the president.
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