White House sets up systems protection plan

The Clinton administration by year’s end will complete its plan for protecting the
nation’s infrastructures from cyberattack, administration officials said.

Clinton last month issued Presidential Decision Directive 63, which called for a
national plan for infrastructure protection. The directive established the Critical
Infrastructure Protection Program, which calls for interim security capability by 2000 and
full infrastructure security in five years.

Ciao, hackers

The Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office, under the aegis of the Commerce
Department, will serve as the program’s planning office. Richard Clark, the newly
appointed national coordinator for security, infrastructure protection and
counterterrorism, will run the program.

Jeffrey Hunker, director of the assurance office, recently described a possible
cyberattack at a joint hearing of the House National Security subcommittees on Military
Procurement and Military R&D.

"One person with a computer, a modem and a telephone line anywhere in the world
can potentially break into sensitive government files, shut down an airport’s air
traffic control system or cause a power outage in an entire region," Hunker said.

The assurance office will write protection plans for each critical infrastructure
sector, including telecommunications, banking and finance, energy, transportation and
essential government services. Then a national umbrella plan will incorporate the sector

The national infrastructure protection plan will include at least six elements:

The President’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection urged the
administration to protect the nation’s information systems, increase cooperation
between the public and private sectors and create a federal monitoring center.

Attorney General Janet Reno, who sits on the commission’s steering committee,
earlier this year announced the establishment of the National Information Protection
Center. The center’s goal is to provide real-time intrusion detection.

The center will also gather vulnerability data and disseminate analyses and warnings to
the government and industry. The center has set up shop at the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover
Building headquarters.

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