Nations Seek Swift Response to Cyberattacks

WASHINGTON (07/27/2000) - Many problems have occurred in sharing cyberattack information quickly and accurately within the U.S. government, and the problems multiply in the international arena, experts told Congress Wednesday.

"We are increasingly finding that our investigations lead us to foreign countries where we have to seek the assistance of local law enforcement," said Michael Vatis, director of the National Infrastructure Protection Center, testifying before the House Government Management, Information and Technology Subcommittee.

"We have made a great deal of progress improving cooperation with local law enforcement communities, but there is a long way to go," he said. "We're going to need more cooperation with countries we haven't traditionally dealt with."

The biggest problem is the slow rate at which information is shared because of a lack of consistent international policy, laws and technology, said Ohad Genis, advocate and chief inspector at the Israel Police's National Unit for Fraud Investigations, which has jurisdiction over national and international cybercrime.

"What is needed is the establishment of a central organization that will handle all requests for international assistance with online access," Genis said.

At times, those problems can cause delays that hamper investigations and wind up harming the systems people are trying to protect, said Richard Schaeffer, director of infrastructure and information assurance at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communication and Intelligence.

"Today, it takes us, at best, hours to transition from detection to warning - at worst, this could be days - and the attacks are executed in milliseconds," he said. "We must develop the technology, capabilities, processes and legal framework to respond to cyberevents in real time."

Organizations such as Interpol have the structure in place to facilitate information sharing between countries, but a common basis of legislation, policy and procedures is still needed, said Edgar Adamson, chief of Interpol's U.S. National Central Bureau.

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