Cybersecurity alliance launches without funding, leadership

Cybersecurity alliance launches without funding, leadership

The National Cyber Security Alliance, a government and industry project to promote the public's awareness of computer security practices, was launched last week without funding, a leader or a board of directors.

The main work of the alliance so far is a Web site at staysafeonline.info that posts tips and a self-test for consumers about how to secure their computers. The site advocates firewalls, disconnecting computers from the Internet when they are not in use, sophisticated passwords and similar measures.

'This campaign will give all Americans the education and tools they need to secure their personal information and systems from attack,' according to a posted statement by Dick Clarke, special adviser to the president for cyberspace security. 'Citizens don't realize how much damage can be done by people using your computers remotely without your knowing it.'

The campaign is backed by dozens of agencies and companies, including AOL Time Warner Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif., the Defense Department, the FBI, the General Services Administration, Mitre Corp. of Bedford, Mass., and Microsoft Corp., according to announcements on the site.

But according to a spokeswoman for Neill Edwards at the Commerce Department's Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office, the alliance has no oversight body and no single point of contact.

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