Saturday, October 31, 2009

US cyber center opens to battle computer attacks

WASHINGTON — The United States is well behind the curve in the fight against computer criminals, Sen. Joe Lieberman said Friday, as Homeland Security officials opened a $9 million operations center to better coordinate the government's response to cyberattacks.

Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, said legislation being drafted by his committee will require federal agencies and private companies to set up a system to share information on cyber threats.

And Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, said the Homeland Security Department must identify weaknesses in the systems that run power plants and other critical infrastructure.

As Lieberman laid out his proposal to Chamber of Commerce executives, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano unveiled the new National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in northern Virginia.

Standing in front of a wall of broad video screens, that displayed vivid charts and maps of possible cyber threats and suspicious internet traffic, Napolitano said the watch center will allow the high-tech teams that monitor government networks to work better together.

With 61 computer stations spread across the room, the center will merge the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team and the National Coordinating Center for Telecommunications. AP

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