'Did you hear...'

Perfect cyberstorm. We can now officially retire the phrase 'digital Pearl Harbor.' It's been replaced as a reference to the worst-case scenario for an attack on our critical infrastructure by 'the cyber- equivalent of a Hurricane Katrina.' Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Science Committee, introduced the phrase at a recent hearing on cybersecurity when he warned that 'we shouldn't have to wait for the cyberequivalent of a Hurricane Katrina to realize that we are inadequately prepared to prevent, detect and respond to cyberattacks.' Former presidential adviser (now presidential persona non grata) Richard A. Clarke warned of the possibility of a digital Pearl Harbor back in December 2000, and the phrase has been seen in print since at least 1991. That's an awfully long time to go in the IT world without a refresh. And with the fourth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks just passed, references to 9/11 are becoming a bit stale. So the new phrase was bound to come along. 'It is inevitable that you look at it in reference to Katrina,' said Rep. Bart Gordon of Tennessee, the committee's ranking Democrat.

Hits on near-misses. Firefighters across the country can now share tips and stories about close calls'and what can be done to prevent them'via a national database where they can report on their experiences anonymously. The National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System went live last month after completing a 38-department pilot, the Associated Press reported. The system is based on the Aviation Safety Reporting System developed in 1976 by NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration to let pilots, flight crews and air traffic controllers share tips and tales of close calls. Tell us about your near-misses at buzz@postnewsweektech.com.

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