SAN DIEGO—Now that the federal government has released its plan to secure the nations critical networks, officials are asking the rank-and-file security specialists and network administrators to take an active role in implementing the strategy.
This kind of cross-industry cooperation is necessary if the country is going to defend itself against attacks on its networks from not only crackers and vandals but hostile nations and potentially terrorist groups, officials say.
"I dont think we can predict the next attack. We cant get into the minds of these guys," said Marcus Sachs, director for communication infrastructure protection in the Office of Cyberspace Security in Washington. Sachs made his comments during a keynote speech at the National Information Assurance Leadership conference here, put on by The SANS Institute.
He said that in order for the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace to be effective, everyone responsible for any number of Internet-connected PCs needs to take whatever actions are necessary to secure them. If this effort doesnt work, Sachs said, it could have a severe effect on the future of the Internet.
"We either get it right now or future generations are going to have to go back and re-engineer it," he said. "Why cant we build some of those security systems into the Internet so that clueless users who start doing something bad, we can shunt them off into some harmless corner of the Internet to play themselves out."
Another key to protecting the nations networks is building a useful public key infrastructure, Sachs said. Secure communications must also be user-friendly.
"For those of you working with PKI, God help us all," Sachs said, eliciting quite a few laughs. "Its a great idea, but weve got to get it working."
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