Bennett urges agencies to sharpen security tests

Bennett urges agencies to sharpen security tests

Agencies should regularly test systems security as if they expect an onslaught from terrorists or a hostile government, Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) says.

Sen. Robert Bennett
Civilian agencies are logical candidates for attack because their systems aren't locked down as tight as those operated by the Defense Department or the intelligence community, the Utah Republican said.

Bennett spoke last month at an Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association conference in Washington.

Testing in which one agency team tries to hack into its own computers as another team tries to fend off the attack may be the key to protecting systems, Bennett said.

Agencies should use Presidential Decision Directive 63, which orders agencies to protect systems that manage the nation's infrastructure, as a starting point for more stringent control over government systems, he said.

'Right now most hacking incidents are only embarrassing,' he said. 'But there is a time coming soon [when] they will be more than a nuisance.'

The senator gave the new administration high marks for its support of electronic-government initiatives, noting that President Bush is giving security matters top priority.

'Tony Lee Orr


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