Information Warfare: May 28, 2002


One problem the U.S. government has had in dealing with cyberwar is the weak defenses it has against computer viruses. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has, for budget reasons, not always bought the best anti-virus software. Nor has the FAA had computer system administrators as skilled in the use of this software as, say, the banking industry. For years, this vulnerability was largely unknown. But since September 11, more outside security experts have been brought in to examine the cyber-defenses in government agencies. The findings have been scary, and largely kept out of the news. In many cases, defenses could be beefed up quickly and inexpensively (by buying better anti-virus software, which is not terribly expensive) and going over how government computers are configured and making changes. This is also not expensive, although it's more costly than new software. There's a perpetual shortage of knowledgeable Internet security experts and their hourly rates are not cheap (not as expensive as many lawyers, but that is changing as more organizations become aware of the problem.)


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