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By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2003-12-03 Print this article Print

Outside the ballrooms of the Santa Clara Marriott, where Wednesdays summit was held, security experts were skeptical that the industry groups latest actions will do much to comprehensively address cyber-security. While government regulation may not be the answer, the industry needs to agree to and adhere to standards for delivering secure IT products, something the trade groups have been resisting, said Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute. He dismissed new surveys as an effective way to address security.
"The only beneficiaries are the companies selling surveys or that are selling security," he said. "You dont do [security] because someone runs a survey but because you feel a key pain."
For its part, the federal government should lead by example and add security requirements across its procurement of technology, Paller said. Homeland security officials repeatedly stressed that their cyber-security effort is a partnership with the private sector, but they also expressed a willingness to be more aggressive if the tech industry doesnt make progress. The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace avoided recommending any specific legislation or regulations, Yoran said, but the Homeland Security Department has not ruled out legislation or regulation—especially if industry efforts prove to be incomplete. Robert Liscouski, the Department of Homeland Securitys assistant secretary for infrastructure protection, took a tougher stance after repeated questions from reporters about the lack of security requirements or regulations. "We are not going to let anyone who operates in this space dodge from their responsibility," he said. "We want to see results. … Regulation is not off the table, but at the end of the day thats not where we want to be." Discuss This in the eWEEK Forum

Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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