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US govt releases cyberdefence strategies

Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security Tom Ridge has released the final versions of the US government's national strategies to defend critical infrastructures from cyber and physical attack.

As the nation remained at code Orange - the second-highest level of alert - Ridge said the two strategy documents are critical to the future planning of US security.

The national strategy to secure cyberspace and the national strategy for the physical protection of critical infrastructures and key assets will help guide governments and businesses in their efforts to defend the US from terrorism.

One of the first priorities will be to establish a national cyberspace security response system that will enable the government to co-ordinate with the private sector on analysis, warning, incident management and recovery efforts stemming from a co-ordinated cyberattack against the US.

Howard Schmidt, acting chairman of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Board, said a major thrust of the cyberdefence strategy is to work with the private sector to reduce the nation's vulnerability to attack.

In addition, the homeland security department is considering a cybersecurity alert system that would work with the overall Homeland Security Alert System.

The final version of the strategy, however, does not mention regulating the private sector to force improvements in security.

Bob Stephan, the department's information analysis specialist, said regulation could be an option for some industries, such as chemical manufacturing, where the threat to public health and safety is particularly acute.


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