Government, Private Sector Work On Cybersecurity

The government is ramping up efforts to fight cyberterrorism, saying it wants to train thousands of "cyberwarriors" to protect government networks and infrastructure.

But much of what happens on the Internet isn't controlled by the government. Online banking, shopping and communications all rely on infrastructures managed by the private sector. So how to protect both government and private sector businesses online?

At a cybersecurity conference Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) said the key is to get government agencies and private businesses to work together.

"We cannot do anything in the United States government to protect and defend the United States government without the private sector," Mikulski says. "The private sector is both solution and simultaneously is also the target of cyberattacks."

Mikulski pledged $10 million to develop a National Cybersecurity Center. It will serve as a hub of innovation for new technologies, and will be a place where private-sector security experts can be trained on the latest technology.

Kris Lovejoy, IBM's director of security strategy, says knowledge-sharing with the government is exactly what the industry needs. Security professionals generally know what the threats to their companies look like. But they don't always know exactly what to do about them.

"If there are 100,000 things to worry about and 100,000 technologies that I can buy to fix my problem, where do I start?" Lovejoy says. "Who tells me what provides the most value?"

Lovejoy says she'd like advice and guidance from the government. What she and many other industry leaders don't want is one-size-fits-all regulation. But some kind of government response to the cyberterrorism threat is likely. A bill that's in the Senate now would increase cybersecurity requirements for some businesses.

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