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More than 16 months after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. government spending on homeland security has yet to settle into a predictable routine. Tens of billions of dollars have been allocated to domestic and foreign operations aimed at deterring, preventing or recovering from terrorist activities. Some of these appropriations have funded startup programs that promise long-term benefits, while others support long-extant efforts that are the only options available for immediate action in the war on terrorism.
Homeland Security and the global effort against terrorism are incredibly complex activities. The organizations and individuals are just as complex.
Corporate America is helping assemble the homeland defense jigsaw puzzle that includes thousands of pieces being put together by hundreds of people looking at a multitude of different pictures. Industry leaders agree that the biggest challenge is the complexity of the problem and the plethora of solutions being proposed by companies with a range of specialties taking widely varying approaches.
Viruses, worms, hackers, spam, disgruntled employees, flawed software, terrorists-cyberspace is rife with danger, but defending information has some pitfalls of its own. Information security specialists are the front-line warriors in this battlespace, and they may be making important decisions about which weapons to use based on misconceptions often promulgated by security product vendors. Industry experts have taken a closer look at some commonly held information assurance beliefs and claim that many are little more than myths.
More than two years have passed since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In that time, the U.S. government has undergone a massive overhaul to meet the challenges of combating an elusive foe. A key part of this restructuring was the creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, charged with coordinating the efforts of myriad federal, state and local agencies to locate, identify and neutralize terrorist threats on American soil.
Protecting electronic commerce on the Internet is a very secretive and unforgiving business. Robust security, however, is pivotal to its phenomenal expansion as networks surge toward a $200 billion market within the next two years. This demand for vigorous network refuge is creating a $6 billion worldwide security industry market, growing at a rate of more than 50 percent a year.
We are seeing a global trend to provide tighter coordination of defense, intelligence, and security planning and operations. In the United States, people refer to the security function as homeland security, while in other countries around the world this function is simply called security or internal security. In many nations, the law prohibits the integration of defense and security to minimize the use of military forces within the nation’s borders except under specific circumstances. But with the growth of the global terrorism threat and asymmetric warfare, the need to achieve synergies among these assets and the need to attend carefully to the seam between defense and security has become apparent to most.
Cyber specialists attempt to make sense out of a modern-day Tower of Babel.
The U.S. Defense Department is bringing its expertise on the battlefield to the home front. Under the direction of an organization that was chartered less than eight months ago, the department is taking aim at those who would do the nation harm, assisting law enforcement and federal agencies with technical capabilities and proficiency in tactics, techniques and procedures. Although this is not a new mission for the military, it is an indication of the department's resolve to win the war against terrorism.
Experts representing many areas of homeland security and defense shared their insights during three panel sessions at TechNet International 2004. Discussion topics varied from wireless device security to infrastructure protection to business continuity. Leaders from industry, government and the military agreed that information technology offers many benefits, but it also poses considerable security challenges.