Symantec CEO: Secure IT needs public-private cooperation

Symantec CEO: Secure IT needs public-private cooperation

Members of Congress and federal executives 'all feel cyberthreats to be a part of the war we're facing,' said John W. Thompson, chairman of security software supplier Symantec Corp. of Cupertino, Calif. Thompson said he came to that conclusion after making a round of visits in Washington last week.

He said he expects Richard Clarke, President Bush's cybersecurity adviser, to have sufficient congressional and industry support to ensure that critical IT infrastructures are safe.

Thompson said there's little difference in the threats faced by industry and government. In both sectors, he said, the more data-intensive the content of the business, the better the awareness and preparations tend to be.

'At places like the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Defense security agencies, you find more holistic and more thorough approaches,' Thompson said.

Still, he said, the wartime footing has raised the consciousness of the government IT community generally. At the same time, the post-terror atmosphere has made clearer 'the lack of skills available both to build products and be practitioners to implement the technologies.'

Thompson said the government and industry must both work to ensure that the Internet is a safe place to conduct global business. For agencies, the challenge will be mustering enough financial and human resources to do an effective security job.

Protecting IT will require public-private partnerships, Thompson said, adding, 'We need good examples of where public and private cooperation has advanced the state of the art. More projects get launched, but not much comes out of it.'

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