Clarke stumps for national Internet Operations Center

Presidential adviser Richard Clarke today asked the IT industry to support a proposed Internet Operations Center that could provide advance warning of cyberthreats as they spread.

'I'd like you all to think about it,' he told an audience at a users conference hosted in Washington by Symantec Corp. of Cupertino, Calif.

Clarke, head of the president's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board, assured the audience that the center is not a back-door attempt by the government to regulate the Internet.

The proposal for the center was included in the administration's draft National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, released last month for public comment [see story at].

Clarke described the center as a voluntary operation, funded at least partially by the government and probably hosted by a federally funded R&D center, such as the CERT Coordination Center at Carnegie Mellon University or an Energy Department national laboratory.

'I don't think it would be all that expensive,' he said. 'The sensor networks are already out there.'

He said that 15 to 20 organizations now have fingers taking various pulses on the Internet. What is missing is a way to bring the data together to produce a real-time picture of activity so that anomalies can be spotted and problems stopped before they spread. He compared the center to the Distant Early Warning Line of radar stations built across the Arctic to warn of missile attacks.

'We haven't spent a penny to create a DEW Line in cyberspace,' he said.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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