US commission outlines cyberterrorism measures

In a hearing on cyberterrorism in Washington, the head of a special congressional commission investigating weapons of mass...

In a hearing on cyberterrorism in Washington, the head of a special congressional commission investigating weapons of mass destruction outlined steps for the protection of critical infrastructure.

James Gilmore, governor of Virginia, recommended the creation of a non-profit making organisation to act as intermediary between the private sector and the government. He said it could help resolve conflicts between government agencies and companies that could arise over the sharing of security information.

"The private sector has legitimate concerns about their customers' privacy and confidence, as well as the value of their own proprietary information and earnings," said Gilmore. He added that cybersecurity would require an unprecedented partnership between the public and private sectors.

The commission also outlined the need for a special "cyber court", dedicated to information security matters, as well as the creation of a body to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for information security research and development.

"Critical information and communication infrastructures are targets for terrorists because of the broad economic and operational consequences of a shut down," Gilmore told the US House of Representatives science committee.

The science committee is primarily focused on research and training issues. However, the committee's statutory mandate did not stop members from suggesting other measures to improve security.

"Hackers should also be considered terrorists, and the penalties that hackers get should be commensurate with terrorist activity, not considered as vandalism or pranks," said one member.

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