SC World Congress: Commission on cybersecurity releases recommendations

Cybersecurity control should be taken away from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security placed under the White House's purview, a panel of government and industry leaders are urging President-elect Barack Obama.

The Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency, which released its recommendations on Monday in a 63-page report, said an executive White House office should be charged with cybercrime coordination.

"This new office can help begin the work of building an 'information age' government, based on the new, more collaborative organizational models found in business," the report said.

Other recommendations from the commission's yearlong study include bolstering public-private partnerships, regulating cyberspace, requiring better authentication for accessing critical infrastructure, modernizing laws, buying only secure products and services based on guidelines developed in partnership with industry, and expanding cybersecurity research and training.

Following a number of high-profile government computer breaches, the commission was established at the end of 2007 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and co-chaired by U.S. Reps. Jim Langevin, D-R.I. and Michael McCaul, R-Texas.

Obama is expected to use the commission's recommendations when continuing the implementation of a President Bush's national cybersecurity initiative.

Tim Mather, chief security strategist of RSA Conferences, told that he was impressed with the recommendation that cybersecurity be taken away from the Department of Homeland Security and be put into the White House.

“You haven't had a cabinet-level agency publicly slapped like that in a while," he said. "It's unusual."

Cyberspace isn't just an issue defined by homeland security -- that's too narrow an approach, the report said. For a comprehensive national security strategy, cybersecurity requires international effort along with offensive capabilities and strong intelligence action.

Attendees of the SC World Congress, to be held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Javits Center in New York, will be offered a preview of the commission's recommendations during a panel presentation scheduled from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Panelists include Langevin and McCaul; retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry D. Raduege Jr., chairman at the Deloitte Center for Network Innovation; and Marcus Sachs, executive director for government affairs and national security policy at Verizon Communications.

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