Thompson/Lieberman – Authors of Bill to Protect Against Cyberterrorism- Comment on Administration’s Plan protecting America from Tech Attacks

(Washington, DC) — Earlier today President Clinton issued the Administration’s Cyberterrorism plan designed to protect federal assets from attack. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson said, “Over the last several Congresses, the Governmental Affairs Committee has been investigating federal computer security only to find extensive weaknesses that affect every American’s health, safety, national security and economic well being. For this reason, I am pleased to see the Administration focusing its attention on this important issue.”

As a result of the Governmental Affairs Committee work in the area of information security and cyberterrorism, Chairman Thompson and Senator Lieberman recently introduced S. 1993, the Government Information Security Act of 1999, a bill to protect federal government information systems from cyberattack. This legislation will be a priority item of the Committee?s agenda during the upcoming session of Congress.

“The federal computer system needs to catch up to the complexities of the digital age,” added Senator Lieberman. “So, I congratulate the President for moving ahead on this critically important initiative and look forward to working with Chairman Thompson and the Administration to find a remedy. The Governmental Affairs Committee has held numerous hearings on computer security problems in federal agencies and has worked extensively with the General Accounting Office on a number of reports. Although we have many laws addressing computer security, they are inadequate for today’s interconnected environment. We hope to legislate further to consolidate those laws, reemphasize the importance of the issue and address recent developments, such as vulnerabilities created by the rapid pace of technological advance.”

Over the last decade, the federal government, like most private-sector organizations, has become enormously dependent on interconnected computer systems, including the Internet, to support its operations and account for its assets. This explosion in interconnectivity has resulted in many benefits. But the factors that generate these benefits — widely accessible data and instantaneous communication — also increase the risks that the information will be misused, possibly to commit fraud or other crimes, or that sensitive information will be inappropriately disclosed.

Thompson noted, “At first glance, the plan seems to underline and highlight critical concerns which need to be addressed in order to combat cyberterrorism. However, proposals dealing with training security personnel, research and development funding, and the Federal Intrusion Detection network will need to be studied further to determine if these are the appropriate solutions.”

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