NEW YORK -- Striking a cautious note, Newt Gingrich on Wednesday warned that government and corporate networks will be the targets of new and varied threats in the coming years that arent even on the map at present.
Gingrich, the former speaker of the United States House of Representatives and current CEO of The Gingrich Group in Atlanta, told attendees of the InfoSecurity Conference here that during their planning for future security needs, they should seek out and implement disruptive technologies that can respond to evolving threats.
"You should scan very widely and look for disruptive systems because they give us the capability to shift to a real-time information environment," Gingrich said. "As information becomes worldwide, you will have threats from overseas, and we have to pay the kind of systematic attention to security that you would if you were opening a bank in a huge intersection."
Gingrich also said that only sheer luck has prevented a major information-security terror attack.
"Were still less aware of how vulnerable we are than we should be," he said. "Weve been lucky. Our opponents have not been very clever."
During his opening keynote address, Gingrich also called for the use of biometric security authentication for airline passengers as well as airport personnel. He criticized as reactionary the measures that airports and airlines have taken since Sept. 11 and said that biometrics have the potential to revolutionize the concept of physical security.
"Before Sept. 11 we had 300 untrained people with inadequate equipment [guarding airports]," he said. "Since Sept. 11, we have 900 untrained people with inadequate equipment and three National Guardsmen and two police officers. What are we really accomplishing with all of this show? The ideal system is an iris scanner. We need to move to biometrics because theyre radically more secure and can be done easily."
Gingrich proposed a system whereby passengers irises would be scanned as they passed through a security checkpoint. The scan would also serve as passenger check-in and would enable airlines to issue tickets at the same time.
The former speaker also downplayed the idea of a national I.D. card system. Instead, he called for the federal government to implement a biometric identification system for anyone entering the country.