Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Protect Our Cyberspace

I was very disappointed to read of that the director of the National Cyber Security Division of the Homeland Security Department just quit, because (according to the pervasive anonymous sources) of his frustrations with the lack of attention and money allotted to the issue. Looks like another case of poor functioning by Homeland Security. While no one is equating a physical terrorist attack with an electronic one, we should realize we live in a time where the latter could cripple our economy. Viruses written by high-school hackers manage to inflict millions of dollars of damage; the day may not be far when highly-sophisticated terrorist groups do just the same. But in Washington, the philosophy is to wait till it actually happens, so I don't expect any movement until the first major attack. Call it the Windows syndrome - don't fix security flaws until after they have been exploited by hackers!

Talking of which, who is in charge of information security? Who takes care of the fact that everything from our social security numbers to our banking details and cell phone records are routinely stolen and sold on a thriving market. The fact that a news-aware person doesn't know this is a sign Washington hasn't made it a big issue. But to be fair, they had more pressing issues ... like casting symbolic votes on gay marriage, flag burning, troop withdrawal, even if they knew none of these measures would ever pass!

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