U. S. Web Face Too Public?
Does the feds' e-government initiative exacerbate the vulnerabilities of the nation's cyber-infrastructure?WASHINGTONThe Bush administration has made e-government one of its top priorities, encouraging citizens, for example, to file taxes and renew licenses online. But some security experts are questioning whether that initiative, which links federal systems to home and office computers, exacerbates the vulnerabilities of the nations cyber-infrastructure. The U.S. House of Representatives recently approved legislation to limit peer-to-peer networking on government computers, and now members of Congress are talking about taking more drastic steps, even removing public-facing Web sites from government networks. The legislative momentum is fueled by the IT security industry, and companies such as Akamai Technologies Inc., in Cambridge, Mass., and NetSec Inc. are urging the government to play a more prominent role in promoting a safer cyber-environment.
"By serving the content externally, the public no longer needs direct access to the government network, and it is much easier to filter out attack traffic," Akamai Chief Scientist F. Thomson Leighton told lawmakers. Leighton did not specify which nongovernment network might handle the governments public-facing material, but one possibility is Akamais network.