IT Still Open to Terrorist Attacks

Opinion: More leadership must be shown from the top branches of government if we are to be safe from terrorist attacks.

National events again motivate eWEEKs look at IT and the big picture. Last week eWEEK used the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina to examine how lessons learned from that storm are being put into practice. We found that IT managers have been busy the past year putting additional redundancies into their disaster recovery plans. This weeks report on the state of IT affairs five years after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks is not as upbeat and, in fact, has a sense of urgency about it. The terrorists are still on the offensive, and we are still vulnerable.

The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace has gone nowhere during the past three years, reports eWEEK Senior Writer Wayne Rash. The White House is close to announcing a new cyber-czar, but the position was vacant for a year. Even before that, critics pointed out that the position lacked real authority to unite public- and private- sector entities in the effort to secure the nations critical cyber-infrastructure.

Still, work is being done to locate and plug holes before they can be exploited. Sandia National Laboratories Red Teams monitor water, power, computer and telecommunications systems in an effort to anticipate attacks, reports eWEEK Senior Writer Chris Preimesberger. The Red Teams efforts are well-conceived, but the job is too big for them. In some cases, the best they can do is pass on testing and training methodologies to local government or industry groups, where we can only hope there is sufficient follow-through.

More must be done. Many in the know insist that the public does not know the extent to which the government has flushed out threats and vulnerabilities, and this is probably true. But more leadership must be shown from the top branches of government.

Also on the security front this week, Microsoft is making an aggressive move in creating a new technology called BrowserShield, which can serve as a quicker alternative to current software patch releases, reports eWEEK Senior Writer Ryan Naraine. The technology promises to actually rewrite HTML on the fly if it encounters a malicious script and strip out the bad code before the page gets to the users browser.

Contact eWEEK Editor Scot Petersen at

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...