|Strategic Command Cyberpartnership Battles National Vulnerabilities |
Strategic Command Cyberpartnership Battles National Vulnerabilities
Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska -- (AFPN) February 29, 2000 -- A growing partnership between U.S. Strategic Command information security professionals and the Omaha community is helping to eliminate vulnerabilities in the nation's critical computer infrastructure.
The partnership began last May during a USSTRATCOM-sponsored Cybersecurity conference. That conference spawned several computer security initiatives that have yielded encouraging results, said David Mike, chief of the command's Information System Security Policy and Accreditation branch.
"The conference brought together more than 100 chief information officers and security managers from critical infrastructure companies and state and municipal governments to focus on computer security threats," said Mike. "As a result of the conference, Nebraska became the first state with a computer (emergency) response team, called "NebraskaCERT."
Also, a monthly Cyber Security Forum was established to share information among interested individuals and companies, he added.
An additional result of the conference, was that Omaha business and civic organizations cooperated to form what is called an InfraGard chapter. An InfraGard chapter is an organization through which businesses and government agencies can share threat information, intrusion incidents, system vulnerabilities and interdependencies with each other. Mike explained that the national InfraGard program was formed in 1999, as part of the federal government's effort to protect the nation's critical information systems. It serves as a national clearinghouse of cyberthreats and offers tools to help detect and prevent attacks.
InfraGard partnerships have two components: an alert network to allow members to communicate via secure e-mail, and a web site where computer security information and links to other security sites are posted. Membership in the InfraGard is anonymous by design, to facilitate the sharing of sensitive information without attribution.
"Another initiative, which will ultimately strengthen our national security posture, is USSTRATCOM's partnership with local universities," explained Mike. An example is the Peter Kiewit Institute; which initiated a merger of the University of Nebraska at Omaha's College of Information Science and Technology and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Engineering and Technology. The collaborative partnership was formed to meet the increasing need for information technology professionals in the Omaha area and around the nation.
"The Peter Kiewit Institute asked for recommended changes to the Institute's under-graduate and graduate curriculum. We suggested a specialized certification program in information security; and it was overwhelmingly endorsed by area business representatives. I think that kind of program will satisfy a vital need for more information assurance expertise," said Mike.
"USSTRATCOM's mission is strategic deterrence. For us, a strong cyber-security program is essential to protect our critical command and control information systems," he concluded.
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