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By Dennis Fisher  |  Posted 2004-03-21 Print this article Print

Task force members defended their efforts as necessary and valuable for most people. "Theres always the perception that [security is] taking care of itself," said Howard Schmidt, chief security officer at eBay Inc., based in San Jose, Calif., and co-chair of the Awareness task force. "But these are common-sense things that these people need to understand when theyre running their businesses. Were not a one-stop shop for everything when it comes to cyber-security."

The Early Warning task force has proposed establishing an alert network to promote information sharing between the private sector and the government during attacks. The network would be complementary to similar existing efforts, such as the Information Sharing and Analysis Centers and US-CERT. The group hopes to begin testing the system in October in preparation for a December launch.

The Early Warning task force is calling for the creation of a government-funded National Crisis Coordination Center to serve as a nerve center for industry and government officials during big attacks and other events. As planned, the center would be staffed by government and private-sector security specialists.

Still, there are those who deride the NCSP as yet another example of the government "partnering" with private-industry executives and failing to understand the issues that security specialists deal with on a daily basis.

"Everybody is quite irritated by the agendas being advanced by the vendors," said one executive involved in the process, who asked to remain anonymous. "IT security has always been driven by the vendors, and this is just more of the same. Ive yet to see it ever being someone besides the vendors controlling the process. When is the government ever going to engage the actual practitioners? You have major executives who look at the government and think its ridiculous."

The NCSP is allied with various industry trade groups, including the Information Technology Association of America, the Business Software Alliance and TechNet. In fact, officials from those three groups serve as secretariats for four of the five NCSP task forces, and many of the task force co-chairs companies belong to one or more of these associations.

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