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Top cops urge greater focus on cybersecurity
Published: 2009-01-08

With cybercrime booming and terrorists becoming more proficient in using the Internet, the United States and other nations must put a greater focus on solving the problems posed by Internet threats, top law enforcement officials said this week.

Shawn Henry, assistant director of the FBI's cyber division, told attendees at the International Conference on Cyber Security in New York on Tuesday that cyber attacks on critical infrastructure come second in importance only to the threat of weapons of mass destruction, Agence France-Presse reported. Deputy Attorney General Mark R. Filip echoed the sentiment on Wednesday, stating that organized criminals are becoming more adept at using the Internet for large, complex schemes.

"We must secure the our cyber infrastructure in a manner that addresses threats from foreign armies, adversary intelligence services, criminals and terrorists," Filip stated in prepared remarks. "It's hard to exaggerate how important this is or how hard it is to accomplish fully."

The U.S. government looks ready to treat cybersecurity much more seriously in 2009. The Bush Administration made some significant investments in cyber security, through its Federal Desktop Core Configuration program and the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative. While the Obama Administration has not yet announced its intended policy, a group of policy, industry and technology experts recommended last month that the new administration create a top cyber post in the White House. Already, two major government contractors — Boeing and Lockheed Martin — are pushing their own cyber services divisions to compete for government dollars.

While increased spending is necessary to create more secure cyber infrastructure, the DOJ's Filip stressed that cooperation between governments is also a necssary part of the equation. The DOJ official pointed to the concerted action against a Romania-based organized cybercrime gang, which resulted in nine U.S. arrests, as an example of the cooperation needed between governments to tackle cybercrime.

"We're now living in a world where technology moves much faster than the government typically moves, and where our adversaries are anxious to exploit every vulnerability that technological change can offer," Filip stated.

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Posted by: Robert Lemos
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