The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Cert Co-ordination Centre have joined forces to prevent and respond to cyberattacks on the internet.
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The US Computer Emergency Response Team or US-Cert, will start as a partnership between the National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) in DHS and the Cert Co-ordination Centre, a federally funded research and development centre.
US-Cert will provide a centre that co-ordinates both public and private response to cyberthreats, such as the recent Blaster and Sobig worm outbreaks.
The group will also reach out to cybersecurity agencies in other countries, co-ordinating with international Certs as well as private sector security companies to develop detection tools and encourage the use of common protocols to report software vulnerabilities.
The goal is to reduce the government's and private sector's response time for vulnerabilities and threats to 30 minutes by the end of 2004, DHS said.
The group will also work with infrastructure owners and other technology experts to increase the use of security technologies and security best practices
The security software industry has welcomed the partnership.
Antivirus company Network Associates applauded the creation of the US-Cert.
"This is clearly another big step toward creating a 'culture of security'," said Vincent Gullotto, vice-president of the antivirus emergency response team at Network Associates.
The Business Software Alliance president and chief executive officer Robert Holleyman cited the need for "extensive co-operation" between public and private sector organisations to manage the country's critical infrastructure and "move this nation's cybersecurity preparedness to the next level".
Paul Roberts writes for IDG News Service