US “unprepared for cyber catastrophe”, CEOs warn

The US is insufficiently prepared for a “cyber catastrophe” that brings down large parts of the internet, big business leaders have warned.

The US is insufficiently prepared for a “cyber catastrophe” that brings down large parts of the internet, big business leaders have warned.

A report from the Business Roundtable, a group of 160 chief executives of major corporations, warns that measures needed to deal with a major attack, software incident or natural disaster that disrupts the Internet are not in place.

The report – Essential Steps Toward Strengthening America’s Cyber Terrorism Preparedness – draws comparisons between the lack of preparation for a cyber disaster and the chaotic response to Hurricane Katrina last year.

It highlights three key gaps in response plans designed to restore the internet.

The US lacks an early warning system to identify internet attacks, while the public and private bodies that would oversee recovery of the internet have unclear or overlapping responsibilities. Insufficient resources have been put towards internet recovery measures, the report adds.

Edward Rust, head of the Business Roundtable security taskforce’s working group on cyber security, said, “If there’s a cyber disaster, there is no emergency number to call – and no one in place to respond because our nation simply doesn’t have the kind of coordinated plan in place that we need to restart and restore the Internet.”

Earlier this year a US Congress committee questioned the US’s ability to deal with “a digital Pearl Harbour”, after issuing a damning report on government computer security that highlighted particular failings at the Homeland Security, State and Defence departments.

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