Computer Crime Research Center


DHS Follows Industry Lead on Cyber-Terror

Date: September 18, 2004
By: Wayne Rash

WASHINGTON–Lawrence Hale, deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security's cyber security division, said Friday that the DHS depends on the private sector to take the lead in fighting cyber-terrorist threats. "The normal things you do to protect your network will help protect you against cyber-terrorism," he said.

Speaking at a conference on cyber-security organized by NBC News and the Northern Virginia Technology Council, Hale said the department is already aware of some cyber-terror threats, as well as the activities of terrorist organizations on the Internet. "They're using cyberspace for recruiting, fund-raising and communication," he said.

Private-sector businesses in the United States are already taking the lead in making sure that they are protected against attacks and intrusion, according to Hale–and the government is following their lead. While he wouldn't divulge details, Hale said the government is working to lessen the severity of any attack on it.

Hale added that, so far, the agency has not seen any threats of immediate cyber-terror attacks, but he added that they could come without warning. And just because the government isn't aware of any threats doesn't mean they couldn't happen, or that they couldn't be extremely serious.

"Suppose there was a cyber attack at the same time as a physical attack," he suggested. Hale outlined one scenario where a physical attack of the level experienced by the United States three years ago could be accompanied by a cyber attack on the financial services industry and on emergency services, severely restricting the ability of the nation to respond.

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