NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

National Cyber Security Strategy

September 24, 2002

The President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board released a draft of the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace last week and is inviting comments. It is the first national blueprint to bring together businesses, government agencies, universities and individuals to make cyberspace a safer place in which to do business and communicate.

Cyber security is critical because information is the currency of today's digital economy. There are a variety of challenges to secure cyberspace, including computer viruses and worms, hackers and similar intrusions. They range from minor nuisances to multibillion-dollar global attacks, and everyone is vulnerable. Electronic Data Systems Corp. offers these staggering statistics:

  • Companies lose $1 million to $3 million an hour in computer downtime and data loss.
  • Businesses worldwide collectively spend between $2 billion and $9 billion to eliminate the effects of a major virus like the I Love You/Love Bug or Code Red.
  • EDS alone counters 650 attempted break-ins and three new viruses every day on the servers it runs for 2,500 corporate clients and 3 million users.

The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace encompasses all of the users of the Internet and information systems. In addition to external information sharing, the strategy recommends that corporations consider creating internal corporate security councils for cyber security coordination and planning.

EDS's Richard Brown, chairman of the Business Roundtable's Digital Economy Task Force, says certain steps are essential for business:

  • Companies must decentralize their business so their most critical people and technologies aren't concentrated in a limited number of locations.
  • They must build redundant, physically separate systems so one system can take over if another goes down.
  • Finally, companies must create emergency communications infrastructures to stabilize mission-critical systems in times of crisis or disaster.

The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace offers a good beginning toward greater security for all technology users, says Brown.

Source: Richard Brown, "Digital economy demands a cyber security strategy," Dallas Morning News, September 23, 2002; "Draft National Strategy to Secure Cyber Space," September 2002, The President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board.


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