Government Moves to Improve Cyber Security Preparedness

Fresh on the heels of the "my doom" computer virus that created an e-mail virus that attacked the Web site of a Utah company, SCO Group Inc., and shut it down, the National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has unveiled the National Cyber Alert System, an operational system delivering to Americans timely and actionable information to better secure their computer systems.

As part of this program, Homeland Security is issuing a series of information products targeted for home users and technical experts in businesses and government agencies. These e-mail products will provide timely information on computer security vulnerabilities, potential impact and action required to mitigate threats, as well as PC security "best practices" and "how-to" guidance.

"The president's National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace provides a framework for the public and private sectors to work together to secure cyberspace," said Frank Libutti, under secretary of Homeland Security for Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection. "The National Cyber Security Division's mission is to serve as a focal point for implementing the National Strategy and protecting the American People."

The development and initial operating capability of the National Cyber Alert System will elevate awareness and help improve the United State's IT security, said Amit Yoran, director of the National Cyber Security Division. "We are focused on making the threats and recommended actions easier for all computer users to understand, prioritize, and act upon. We recognize the importance and urgency of our mission and are taking action," he added.

The new National Cyber Alert System is the nation's first coordinated national cyber security system for identifying, analyzing and prioritizing emerging vulnerabilities and threats. Managed by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), a partnership between NCSD and the private sector, the National Cyber Alert System provides the first infrastructure for relaying graded computer security update and warning information to all users.

Users can sign up for the alert system bulletins and tips at www.us-cert.gov. The new National Cyber Alert System security suite of products includes:

  • Cyber Security Tips: Targeted at non-technical home and corporate computer users, the bi-weekly tips provide information on best computer security practices and "how-to" information.
  • Cyber Security Bulletins: Targeted at technical audiences, bulletins provide bi-weekly summaries of security issues, new vulnerabilities, potential impact patches and work-arounds, as well as actions required to mitigate risk.
  • Cyber Security Alerts: Available in two forms, regular for non-technical users and advanced for technical users, Cyber Security Alerts provide real-time information about security issues, vulnerabilities and current cyber attacks and viruses.
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