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Posted on Mar 13, 2008 in Across the US, Beltway Politics, Congress, Spending, Technology

Bush Responds to Chinese Counter Attacks

I made a post a few days ago about Chinese hackers successfully breaking into some Pentagon computers and the incredible risk that it posed to US security. While I knew that the White House would address this in a timely fashion, I didn’t expect something to come this quickly.

From USA Today:

WASHINGTON — A sudden spike in the number of successful attacks against federal government information systems and databases has led President Bush to propose a multibillion-dollar response.

The number of incidents reported to the Department of Homeland Security rose by 152% last year, to nearly 13,000, according to a new government report. The security breaches, more than 4,000 of which remain under investigation, ranged from the work of random hackers to organized crime and foreign governments, says Tim Bennett, president of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance.

The increase and severity of data breaches prompted Bush to recommend a 10% increase in cybersecurity funding for the coming fiscal year, to $7.3 billion. That’s a 73% increase since 2004.

“The president’s put a lot of emphasis on this recently,” says Robert Jamison, undersecretary for national protection and programs at the Department of Homeland Security. “We’re concerned that the threats are real and growing. … We’re more vulnerable as a nation.”

Members of Congress and experts in the private sector say the government’s new is overdue.

Luckily, this seems like one security item that the Democrat majority wont vote against, though I wouldn’t put it past them to call for a compromise and throw in some completely unrelated project or try and tie in some FISA stipulations.

In the article there was some positive response from some key Democrats on this issue:

“There are more and more bad guys out there,” says Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., who chaired a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee hearing this week on government information security risks. In 31% of the infiltrations, he says, “agencies do not know who took the information or how much information was taken.”

Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., who chairs the House Homeland Security subcommittee with jurisdiction over the issue, says the Bush administration “has not paid nearly enough attention to cybersecurity” until this year. Now, he says, “they’re at least trying to move in the right direction.”

While I’m hopeful that this will go through with no problems, I wouldn’t put it past Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to use some muscle and make things complicated.

Finally, this article closed with some pretty cool simulations that the government is trying to explore its security threats:

Practicing for attacks

To test security against about 100 possible attacks, the Department of Homeland Security today is completing a week-long series of simulations called “Cyber Storm II.” The event presumed a coordinated cyberattack on information technology, communication, chemical and transportation systems. Participants from five countries, nine states, 18 federal agencies and more than 40 private companies participated.

“They remarked somewhat sheepishly how much of a stretch this has been for them,” Greg Garcia, assistant secretary for cybersecurity at the Homeland Security Department, said Thursday during a tour of the event at Secret Service headquarters here.

Karen Evans, administrator for electronic government and information technology at the Office of Management and Budget, says part of the 152% increase in security breaches in 2007 was due to more accurate reporting, but she acknowledges that much of it represents a real rise.

Industry officials want a greater government role in preventing cyberattacks.

Bennett says, “With global attacks on data networks increasing at an alarming rate, in a more organized and sophisticated manner, and often originating from state-sponsored sources, there is precious little time to lose.”