Working in the tech world, I always take quick interest in stories that involve cyber security. This is the main reason that I have been so outspoken on that recent rash of identity thefts, mainly from government computers. The icing on the cake was when we learned this week that a 28 year old consultant hacked into the FBI’s computer and gained access to such vital information as identities of people in the witness relocation program and even obtained the directors password. He did so utilizing common programs found on the internet.
This kind of news is rather breath taking to someone who works to secure information all the time. I know the inner workings of software and what helps compose a good security system. Apparently the U.S. Government does not.
There has been discussion on who is to blame on this. People feel that Bush shouldn’t be at fault, but the following story tells otherwise:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has still failed to appoint a cyber-security director after a delay of a year.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced the creation of a position for an assistant cyber security czar as part of a six-point agenda July 13, 2005. He identified elevating the position to an assistant Cabinet-level post as part of an overall strategy to “ensure that the department’s policies, operations, and structures are aligned in the best way to address the potential threats — both present and future.” But a year later, that position remains unfilled, National Journal’s Technology Daily reported Wednesday.
A concerted push to appoint a single person in charge of national cyber security recovery began in Congress two years ago. As part of a cyber security subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives that was dissolved after the 108th Congress, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., helped draft and pass House legislation to create a cyber security czar with real power in the Department of Homeland Security, Technology Daily said.
Recently, Lofgren said the House inserted language in a bill to restructure the Federal Emergency Management Agency, requiring President George W. Bush to nominate someone to the cyber czar job within 90 days.
There was an article I remember reading about ten years ago that said one of the main battlegrounds in world war three would be in cyber space. That statement has stuck with me and is very true. We are in a world of terrorism and these terrorists apparently have good technology. How long before they commit a cyber terrorist act? Hell hack into an airliners mainframe and mess with air traffic or take down a power grid. There a numerous avenues this threat could go down and Bush has failed to get someone to protect such a vital area in our security.
What this all comes down to is that we are living in a different world and fighting a different war. Unfortunately we have leaders who do not see it that way. They believe in the old conventional wisdoms that war takes place on battle fields with guns and soldiers. Wars can easily be waged online in today’s cyber world and this is a front we must do everything necessary to protect. Find the best hacker out there you can and hire them to be the cyber security czar. They have knowledge that can become our greatest asset in the name of security.