Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Simson Garfinkel

A View from Simson Garfinkel

Even Homeland Security Dept. Can't Secure Its Computers

the House of Representatives’ Committee on Government Reform has given DHS an “F” for its internal computer security, according to this report by Robert Lemos in C|Net News.com.”For too long now information security has taken a back seat in the…

  • December 12, 2003

the House of Representatives’ Committee on Government Reform has given DHS an “F” for its internal computer security, according to this report by Robert Lemos in C|Net News.com.

“For too long now information security has taken a back seat in the collective conscience (sic) of our nation,” said a statement from Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., the committee chairman. “We must come to the stark realization that a major Achilles heel is our computer networks.”

Perhaps, but for the short term, at least, terrorists will find it much more effective to blow up buildings than to hack into computer networks. Which do you think would have a bigger impact on our economy? A “super hacker” who manages to shut down the US portion of Internet for a day, or a terrorist who sets off three small package bomb and kills some shoppers in three different suburban malls?

Yes, the possibility exists for doing significant damage by computer, but right now the easy money is on physical attacks.

“The culture of our top-level CEOs in the private sector, and top executives in government, must be changed,” Davis said in the statement. “We must get those at the very top, the decision makers, the ones accountable to the shareholders, the customers or the electorate, to recognize that lack of network security in an organization is a material weakness and one that deserves necessary resources and immediate action.”

Given relative costs and benefits, one could argue that top-level CEOs are doing precisely the right thing — maximizing short-term profit.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.