Hearings Announced on Computer Security Failures in Government

Washington, DC–Senate Governmental Affairs Chairman Fred Thompson (RTN) said that he has schedul ed hearings on “Weak Computer Security in Government: Is the Public at Risk?”  The hearings will span two days and will be held on May 19-20, at 10 am both days, in Room 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

“Government computers affect the life of every American by helping protect the nation’s health and safety, national security and economic well being,” Thompson said. “Threats to our federal computer systems could make flying an airplane a game of Russian Roulette, could eliminate the already short warning time for tornadoes, hurricanes and floods, and could seriously jeopardize our national security.

“We have become so dependent on communications links and electronic microprocessors that a determined adversary or terrorist could shut down federal operations or damage the economy simply by hacking into our computers. The two General Accounting office reports which will be released at our hearing–one on the State Department and one on the Federal Aviation Administration- -raise serious concerns about the risks to the public because of information security weaknesses.”

The first day of the hearings will identify systemic problems in computer systems and the possible serious risks to our national security, our public safety and our personal privacy. Witnesses are expected to include:

Dr. Peter Neumann     SRI International Computer Security Expert

LOpht         A “hacker think tank”. Members include Mudge, Space Rogue, Kingpin., Brian Oblivion, Tan, Stefan and Weld

The second day of the hearings, May 20, will feature the official release of two GAO reports dealing with the State Department and the Federal Aviation Administration. GAO officials will testify about their reports, and about the state of government information security.

Another panel will include high-ranking officials from the State Department and the Transportation Department.