America fails on information security

Thursday, 18 September 2003, 3:48 PM EST

In 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, newly elected president, pledged to create a "new deal for the American people." Designed to help the United States out of its worst economic depression, the New Deal was an opportunity to rebuild the American infrastructure.

An unprecedented amount of legislation was passed establishing agencies to rebuild America's highways, dams and bridges--the vast majority of which are still used and depended on every day. That investment in physical infrastructure was our greatest ever, and it's now time for a similar investment in the Internet's infrastructure--both in shoring up actual underpinnings and in teaching people how to be more cyberaware.

Astoundingly, even two years now after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, America has still failed to secure our vital information infrastructure. Yet we've all seen the mass disruption caused by the recent Sobig, Nachi and MSBlast worms. Even though these worms were considered "unsuccessful" because they did not destroy data, they cost American businesses over $3.5 billion in August alone--a cost our economy cannot sustain. The Internet is attacked virtually every minute of every day, and many of us still take this amazing system for granted.

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