Be prepared for terror, politicians warn

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned last week that action and preparedness was crucial to fight...

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned last week that action and preparedness was crucial to fight cyberterrorism and maintain security.

"We're in a very dangerous century. The power of the few to terrorise the many has grown by leaps and bounds precisely because of technology," he said during an interview at the Terror and Technology Online conference. "A few people can deliver a lot of damage."

When asked what could be done to meet the threat, Netanyahu offered a stark contrast to Bush administration strategy, which has taken a nonregulatory approach to cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection in the private sector.

"The only way you can deal with it is through security systems and security norms that are enforced by governments," he said. 

Former CIA director James Woolsey, now a vice president with the Global Strategic Security practice of Booz Allen Hamilton, said networks and systems playing a role in security need to be deisgned differently. 

The networks and systems that power the US economy "were put together by businesspeople ... with an eye toward openness and ease of access, and were not put together with a single thought in most cases ... to terrorism," he said. 

"All of the networks that serve us have the functional equivalent of flimsy cockpit doors," he said, referring to the ease with which terrorists entered and took over the cockpits of four commercial airliners 11 September, 2001.

"They have things that need to be fixed so that they cannot be taken over and used to kill thousands of people. This is a matter of some urgency." 

Meanwhile at a dinner reception former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani urged the government and the private sector to "prepare relentlessly" for the full spectrum of possible terrorist attacks. 

"Recognise it, accept it, deal with it and make the changes that are necessary so that we provide appropriate security ... Private institutions have to do some of this themselves. Security planning is vital now as a mission for private organisations." 

Giuliani added that the businesses located in and around the World Trade Center with disaster plans were the ones which survived the attacks.

"We should plan for all the things that we can anticipate," said Giuliani. "The terrorists that we are facing will attempt to do the unanticipated again. And the only way you can deal with the unanticipated is to prepare for everything you can think of." 

Meanwhile, the threat of terrorism has spawned the adoption of some unusual workstation peripherals at investment firm Lehman Brothers.

Personal safety emergency kits - which include a gas mask, safety goggles and a whistle - have been installed with every PC and workstation.

Even before the events of 11 September, the investment firm began deploying a global access-control system developed by NexWatch, division of Honeywell International.

The technology integrates physical security monitoring for all of the firm's facilities in 23 countries.

Lehman recently completed the installation of a global closed-circuit television system that transmits data across its IT network infrastructure. The CCTV setup is integrated with the access-control system and lets the firm's security team monitor events at offices in real time.

Radiation and bomb detectors have also been installed at its Manhattan offices, and the firm is using its IT networks to  track images and data centrally.

The company has also changed the way it approaches disaster recovery and business continuity. It has installed Dialogic Communications' Communicator software, which can transmit hundreds of crisis alerts and life-saving instructions simultaneously to mobile phones, pagers and other devices.

Lehman Brothers also has developed software that lets workers use any PC to access their desktops from remote locations.

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