By Keith Epstein
September 15, 2008
The federal government cybersecurity team with primary responsibility
for protecting the computer networks of government and private
enterprise isn't up to the job, according to a draft Government
Accountability Office report  obtained by BusinessWeek.
The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, known as US-CERT, mans the
front line in any cyber-attack. The group monitors computer networks for
hacker threats, investigates suspicious activity online, and is supposed
to issue timely alerts to information technology security professionals
from the White House to corporations and electric utilities. But the GAO
draft report describes US-CERT as bedeviled by frequent management
turnover, bureaucratic challenges that prevent timely sounding of
alarms, a lack of access to networks across wide swaths of critical
terrain, and an inability to fill large numbers of positions with
Five years after the Homeland Security Dept. took charge of the team as
a critical safeguard against threats to national security, US-CERT
"still does not exhibit aspects of the attributes essential to having a
truly national capability," according to the draft report.
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