DHS plans cybersecurity summit

Homeland Security plans cybersecurity summit

The Homeland Security Department is planning a National Cybersecurity Summit for the fall.

Robert Liscouski, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for infrastructure protection, announced the conference at a hearing this morning of the House Select Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Science and R&D. He said the conference would occur in November.

"Our summit is going to involve not only those in the technology sector but across industries," he said, but declined to give additional details now.

During the hearing, Liscouski repeated yesterday's department announcements about the creation of the U.S. Computer Emergency Response Center and appointment of Symantec Corp.'s Amit Yoran as director of the National Cyber Security Division [see story].

Committee members peppered Liscouski with questions about the progress of cybersecurity work in the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate.

Rep. William 'Mac' Thornberry (R-Texas), the subcommittee's chairman, asked Liscouski whether the administration's National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace remained useful as a planning document.

"That is still a valid document," Liscouski said. He added that U.S. CERT would implement the plan's objective of crafting responses to cyberthreats.

He said a chief effort would be cooperation with the IT industry so that products are secure from the get-go. "We have to work with major manufacturers and smaller manufacturers so that they will provide products with fewer vulnerabilities,' Liscouski said.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) asked how the administration's cybersecurity chief could function effectively now that the post has been downgraded from a White House adviser position to "a directorship buried deep within the Homeland Security Department."

Liscouski rebuffed the contention that the position lacked authority and said the cybersecurity director would have access to DHS' top managers.

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