[iwar] GAO Study of NIPC

From: Fred Cohen (fc@all.net)
Date: 2001-05-22 19:28:44

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Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 19:28:44 -0700 (PDT)
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Subject: [iwar] GAO Study of NIPC
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International FBI bungles cyber security 22 May 2001

Protection of the US government and critical infrastructure from
internet attack is flimsy, according to a report

A cyber-protection unit designed to prevent hackers and terrorists
attacking the US government and critical infrastructure is failing, say
federal government auditors. 

The FBI's $27m National Infrastructure Protection Center, the
centrepiece of US internet security, often does not co-operate with
other agencies or private bodies and fails to warn them about imminent
attack, says the General Accounting Office (GAO). 

A congressional study released on 22 May 2001 is the latest critical
report made of the centre.  It said the unit suffers from staffing
problems and a lack of expertise.  Personnel at the centre told auditors
they were badly treated by other FBI staff: until summer 2000, for
example, they had to wear different colour badges and had only limited
access to databases. 

In March 2000, an internal memo at the Pentagon complained that for
non-FBI workers at the centre "it is often a struggle to even get access
to the internal email", The Wall Street Journal reports. 

George Andricos of the White House National Security Council said the
task of protecting US infrastructure "might be better accomplished by
distributing the tasks across several existing federal agencies. 
Andricos, who advises President Bush, also suggested creating a "virtual
analysis centre" to issue emergency warnings. 

The report makes criticises the centre's emergency warnings procedure. 
Although it issued more than 80 advance notices since 1998, most
concerned damage already done, the report said. 

In particular, auditors criticised the centre's response to the 2000 "'I
love you" virus.  The report said FBI warnings about the virus came
hours after widespread damage to US email systems

The GAO stops short of recommending disbanding the centre, as some
critics have suggested but its release coincides with an ongoing review
by the Bush administration to reorganise the US cyber-protection


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