U.S. Outlines Cyber Security Plan

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 @ 06:05 PM gHale

To secure the Internet and ensure global commerce, the Obama administration wants to work aggressively with other nations to make the web safer, enable law enforcement to work closely on cybercrime and make sure citizens can express themselves online.

In addition, the White House said in its new cyber plan the U.S. will use its military might to strike back if it comes under a cyberattack that threatens national security.

The White House plan emerges as international leaders are struggling to improve cooperation on global cybercrime and set guidelines for Internet oversight.

Cyber security experts argue the Internet cannot become a safer place until nations implement international agreements that better define and regulate cybercrime, provide oversight of the Internet, and set new standards and rules for industry as it increasingly moves its business into the largely ungoverned online world.

International leaders want ways to better secure online financial transactions and other business and high-tech exchanges between nations and corporations that span the globe. And they are also grasping for ways to crack down on hackers and other cybercriminals and terrorists who are routinely using the Internet to steal money, ferret out classified secrets and technology, and disturb or destroy critical infrastructure, ranging from the electrical grid and telecommunications networks to nuclear power plants and transportation systems.

Acknowledging the Internet can be a tool used by governments to crack down on dissidents or by criminals to steal data, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said nations must agree on acceptable norms for cyberspace.

“What this document says, we want the Internet to be open and free and accessible and an economic engine to all people,” Clinton said during the White House rollout of the new policy document.

Clinton and other federal agency leaders said the U.S. will reach out to other nations to set voluntary standards for prosecuting cybercriminals, protecting intellectual property, securing networks, and pursuing terrorists who use cyberspace to plan attacks and woo followers.

For the Pentagon, it makes clear that the U.S. will respond to a major cyberattack in much the way it would respond to any other threat to the country.

“We reserve the right to use all necessary means — diplomatic, informational, military and economic — as appropriate,” the policy said. It adds, however, the U.S. will exhaust all options before using military force.

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