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Critical infrastructure debate centers on control systems

Critical infrastructure debate centers on control systems
Critical infrastructure debate centers on control systems

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By Ben Bain
April 23, 2009

The debate continues over whether the government has enough 
cybersecurity authority over the privately owned industrial control 
systems that run critical infrastructure such as electricity, water and 
nuclear power systems.

Some observers say the best approach is for the government to partner 
with the industry and nonfederal authorities that run the systems =E2=80=94 as 
the Homeland Security Department now does. However, some critics say 
that approach isn't sufficient and new legislation is needed to make 
sure the systems that increasingly rely on information technology are 
safe from cyberattacks.

The situation is complicated by the variety of industrial control 
systems, the ways they differ from standard IT systems, the many ways 
the systems are used by different sectors, and their increasing 

As the government organization in charge of coordinating the national 
effort to improve critical infrastructure protection, DHS gives guidance 
to the nonfederal owners of infrastructure and works to develop 
partnerships to improve security through its National Cybersecurity 
Division=E2=80=99s Control Systems Security Program.


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