Panel urges US adopt antihacker plan
WASHINGTON - When he takes office Barack Obama should create a White House office to protect cyberspace from hackers, thieves, and foreign agents, coordinating security efforts across US military, intelligence, and civilian agencies, according to a panel of government and industry specialists.
The report, expected to be made public today, also urges Obama's administration and Congress to pass laws to allow for speedier investigations - and in some cases quicker retaliation once intruders are identified. It proposed online "data warrants," for example, rather than traditional search warrants, which it said "may be increasingly impracticable."
Chances are good Obama will be receptive to many of the proposals: At least five members of the panel that produced the report, the Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency, also are working for Obama's transition team.
"Responding to a cyber attack is a tough issue," said James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank that organized the commission. "Do operators respond with law enforcement, espionage, or military actions? The guidelines are really unclear. The rules designed in the 1980s are slow, and the Internet is fast."
The report urges the Obama administration to make clear how it will respond when it detects and traces such attacks, depending on whether break-ins are blamed on hackers, criminals, or foreign governments. US options could include trade or financial sanctions or military attacks. "We have to have a solid cyber doctrine," said Jerry Dixon, formerly of the National Cyber Security Division at the Homeland Security Department.
It was unclear how the commission's new recommendations will compare with the Bush administration's proposals because President Bush chose to classify as secret most provisions of his cyber initiative.