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Wednesday, 18 September, 2002, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
US cybersecurity plan is revealed
Twin Towers wreckage, AP
Net security has been under scrutiny since 11 September
The White House is urging consumers and companies to tighten up their computer security.

A draft version of a widely anticipated cybersecurity plan due to be released by the Bush administration on 18 September will reveal how the US Government intends to improve net security problems.

Early versions of the report stepped back from imposing regulations on net users and instead made a series of recommendations that it hoped all businesses and individuals would follow.

The report also made recommendations on sharing information about growing cybersecurity threats, ways of protecting critical web infrastructure and for corralling part of the net for emergency services during emergencies.

Web watchers

The report has been prepared by Richard Clarke, a special adviser on cyberspace security appointed by George Bush.

Mr Clarke was appointed in the wake of the 11 September attacks and was given the job of working out how to make the net a safer place.

Many industry figures feared that the report would try to impose a heavy burden on firms to tighten up the ways that people and businesses use the web.

But early versions go no further than recommending people keep anti-virus software up to date and calls on net service providers to do more to protect their customers from viruses and other web attacks.

The draft also calls on security researchers and companies to do a better job of circulating information about vulnerabilities and ways to close them.

There is also talk of creating a central clearing house that will warn of widespread attacks and co-ordinate action against them.

The report also tries to balance individual rights to privacy with calls for improved security, but concedes that in some cases anonymity may have to be sacrificed.

Higher standards

Technology news website Cnet reports that a draft it has seen calls for changes to some net protocols and core address books to improve security.

The site says the report wants a net standard called the Border Gateway Protocol improved to protect the information it passes around.

The routers that pass information around the net use this protocol to swap information about which network is where.

According to Cnet, the report also wants information about who owns which net domain improved.

Once released, members of the public will have a chance to comment and add suggestions to the draft for 60 days before an updated and final version is prepared for President Bush.

The draft report also looks to the future and recommends the US Government monitor developments in quantum computing, nanotechnology and intelligent software agents.

See also:

10 Oct 01 | Americas
11 Oct 01 | Science/Nature
10 Feb 00 | Business
02 Aug 01 | Science/Nature
31 Jul 01 | Science/Nature
01 Mar 02 | Business
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