International Security Studies

Events

Globalization and Terrorism: Protecting the Digital Infrastructure

June 07, 2002 // 12:00am

Approximately 75 representatives of government agencies, Congress, industry, embassies and the academic community attended this symposium. Opening remarks were made by Leslie D. Simon, senior policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, who laid out a series of challenges: Who is responsible for protecting the security of our digital infrastructure and what are the proper roles of government, industry and the universities? What do we know about potential threats and is this being properly communicated to the right authorities? How good are our defenses? Are we addressing the issue properly from an international perspective?

The keynote speaker, Mike McConnell, former Director of the National Security Agency and vice president, Booz Allen-Hamilton, said that we are not properly prepared for a cyber-attack and that no one is in charge. He said that although the financial sector is best prepared, a "…small group of attackers with a small budget could destroy the financial infrastructure of the country."

Three speakers on the first panel focused on the government’s role. Mike Lombard of the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office discussed the federal government’s current organization for dealing with cyber-threats, including a series of presidential directives and executive orders, but pointed out that President Bush’s homeland security announcement would bring organization changes. (Lombard's powerpoint presentation is available.) Doug Beason of Los Alamos covered technological advances that could help defeat cyber-terrorism, including quantum cryptography and data mining (If you are interested in reading Beason's powerpoint presentation, contact wrightag@wwic.si.edu). Kiersten Todt Coon of the Senate Government Affairs Committee staff discussed the role of Congress and said we need a long-term strategy with a focus on research and development. (Todt Coon's powerpoint presentation is available.)

The second panel discussed perspectives from industry and the universities and was led by former Congressman Dave McCurdy, president of the Electronic Industries Alliance. He pointed to the rapid growth in the number of cyber-attacks, with 52,000 incidents in the year 2001 alone, growing from only 3,000 in 1998. He called for a more coordinated industry voice. (McCurdy's powerpoint presentation is available.) Casey Dunlevy, on the staff of the CERT coordination Center at Carnegie Mellon University, discussed the role of CERT as an early warning system and as a developer of "best practices" for industry and government agencies. Eli Primrose-Smith, IBM vice president for Global Security Solutions, discussed technological and organizational solutions to security problems, including the new field of autonomous computing.(Primrose-Smith's powerpoint presentation is available.)

Panel III dealt with the international aspects of the issue. Betty-Ellen Shave, associate chief for international matters of the computer crime section of the Justice Department, cited various negotiations in which the U.S. is currently involved to spur cooperation on cyber-terrorism and related matters, including the Council of Europe. Joseph Richardson of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the Department of State covered discussions with the OECD and at APEC. Bruce McConnell, president of McConnell International, discussed the issue from a comprehensive international standpoint.


Robert Litwak, Director, Division of International Studies, 202-692-4090

Summary by Leslie Simon



Experts & Staff

  • Robert S. Litwak // Vice President for Scholars and Academic Relations and Director, International Security Studies
  • Tonya Boyce // Program Assistant, International Security Studies

Wilson Center Photo Gallery

Browse or share photos from the Wilson Center’s events.

To Attend an Event

Unless otherwise noted:

Meetings listed on this page are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required unless otherwise noted. All meetings take place at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC. Please see map and directions. Allow time for routine security procedures. A photo ID is required for entry.

To confirm time and place, contact Maria-Stella Gatzoulis on the day of the event: tel. (202) 691-4188. Check this page for the latest updates and notices.