U.S. Poorly Prepared for Internet Disaster

Privacy / Security Tech News

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) claims that a Business Roundtable composed of CEOs from 160 large U.S. companies (including IBM, HP, CA, Sun, and FedEx) will publish a study today explaining how the U.S. is poorly prepared for an Internet disruption.

“Neither the government nor the private sector has a coordinated plan to respond to an attack, natural disaster or other disruption of the Internet. While individual government agencies and companies have their own emergency plans in place, little coordination exists between the groups…”

The study describes how a massive Internet disruption could potentially shut down banks, transportation systems, health-care providers, and voice calling over the Internet. The main issue cited is the disorganization of the oh-so-many public and private institutions that have overlapping security responsibilities, which create inefficiencies that will prohibit any sort of decent emergency response.

Some bank security departments have systems in place to exchange data about potential threats. And supposedly a government body exits to handle Internet emergencies: the National Cyber Response Coordination Group, though who does what when in the group is still a mystery. The study says that there are “serious problems stemming from the lack of consolidation, including the fact that these organizations are not accountable for their actions.”

Collaboration between the private and public sectors is needed to plan appropriately for an Internet disruption. The study calls on the government to fund a panel of experts to help in organizing contingency plans should a disruption occur. These companies would like to see “early-warning” systems, much like the systems in place for natural disasters. The other issue cited is the lack of planning out who will share what data during an emergency.

As of now, we’re crossing our fingers and hoping Internet emergencies never happen…

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