US Y2K panel to shift to security

With US government agencies nearing completion of fixing computers to avoid the Year 2000 problem, US senate leaders are considering shifting the focus of the special Year 2000 oversight committee to what many government officials see as the next big threat to government computers: security breaches and cyberterrorism.

Since its creation in April 1998, the US senate's special committee on the year 2000 technology problem has studied the impact of the Year 2000 computer problem on government and the private sector and has recommended legislation and other action.

The committee has focused on the potential impact of computer or network failures on banking, transportation, utilities and other components of the nation's critical infrastructure.

The committee recognises that security vulnerabilities in networks and computer systems pose a similar threat, as they are subject to attacks from personnel within agencies or from outside cyber-terrorists, according to a committee spokesman.

The senators have held informal discussions about the possibility of changing the committee's mission when its current authority expires in February next year.

Several high-level federal groups and organizations, including the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office and the National Infrastructure Protection Center at the FBI, also focus on computer security and the integrity of the US's infrastructure against attacks.

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