Gilmore warns of threat to information systems

Gilmore warns of threat to information systems

If terrorists strike the United States again, their targets could be information systems or critical systems infrastructures, former Virginia governor James Gilmore said yesterday.

'Cyberattacks or attacks on critical infrastructures are the most likely next attacks,' Gilmore said at a panel discussion sponsored by Johns Hopkins University's Information Security Institute in Laurel, Md. He is chairman of the National Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction.

In its third annual report last December, the panel recommended measures to deal with terrorist threats to IT, including the creation of an independent commission to evaluate cybersecurity programs and strategies for improving cybersecurity.

Former Defense Department deputy CIO Marvin Langston told the audience that IT has become a larger target because 'we're now critically dependent on computers in everyday existence on this planet.'

James Lucier, senior Washington analyst for Prudential Securities of New York, said the Internet is becoming a critical infrastructure.

Combating threats will require a new vision of electronic security, Lucier added.

'E-security must be baked in, not sprayed on,' he said.

Citing privacy concerns, Gilmore said he opposed developing a national identification system as a defense against terrorism. 'Too creepy for me,' he said.

Instead, increased collaboration and information sharing among federal agencies and state and local governments are crucial ways to prepare against the threats, he said.

'We have to develop cultural institutions to share intelligence,' he said.

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