Technology Companies, U.S. Government Join Forces To Thwart Cyber-Terrorists

By Tim Stevens The Dept. of Commerce and 19 Internet technology companies including Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, and Nortel Networks have agreed to work together to thwart the efforts of hackers and other cyber-terrorists. Spurred by the denial-of-service attacks levied against Yahoo! and eBay, among others, the group created the Information Technology Information Sharing and Analysis Center (IT-ISAC). The mission of the center is to report and exchange information among its industry members concerning electronic incidents, threats, attacks, vulnerabilities, solutions and countermeasures, best security practices, and other protective measures; establish a mechanism for systematic and protected exchange and coordination of such information; and to take other appropriate action commensurate with these goals. Other ISACs are already active in financial services, telecommunications, and electric power. "The IT-ISAC will enable the high-tech industry to take the lead in spotting potential threats to the Internet and information infrastructures more quickly, sharing state-of-the-art Internet and information infrastructure security measures, and responding in a more coordinated way when incidents occur," says Norman Mineta, secretary, Dept. of Commerce. "Ultimately, we anticipate that there will be industry and government sharing of information among the ISACs that have been created. The industry-only ISACs are a first step in that direction." Because some of the companies participating in IT-ISAC are direct competitors, they may need antitrust exemption to exchange information. A bill currently in Congress to exempt any information shared with the government from the Freedom of Information Act could be the ticket.

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