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By J. Nicholas Hoover
September 28, 2010
For three or four days this week, the Internet will come under a virtual
attack from an unknown adversary, and it will be up to the government
and private sector's coordinated efforts to root out the cause and work
together to keep systems up and running -- at least within the simulated
confines of the Department of Homeland Security's Cyber Storm III
exercise, which begins Tuesday.
The Cyber Storm series of exercises simulates large cyber attacks on
critical infrastructure and government IT assets in order to test the
government's preparedness. Specifically, this year's exercise will be
the first time DHS will test both the draft National Cyber Incident
Response Plan (an effort to provide a coordinated response to major
cybersecurity incidents) that will be publicly released later this year
and the new National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center
(the hub of DHS' cybersecurity coordination efforts).
With cybersecurity continuing to heat up as a national defense priority,
Cyber Storm III will give the government a chance to see how ready it's
processes and people really are in protecting the nation and Internet
against malicious hackers. "So much of the cyber mission space is about
collaboration, and every once in a while you've got to kick the tires to
see how well it works," Bobbie Stempfley, director of DHS' National
Cyber Security Division, said in a meeting with reporters last week.
This year's exercise will be the largest yet, including representatives
from seven cabinet-level federal departments, intelligence agencies, 11
states, 12 international partners and 60 private sector companies in
multiple critical infrastructure sectors like banking, defense, energy
and transportation. High-level officials, including federal
cybersecurity coordinator Howard Schmidt and deputy homeland security
secretary Jane Holl Lute, will be among those taking part.
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