Senate told U.S. unprepared for cyberattack

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The United States is not sufficiently prepared for a large-scale cyberattack that could lead to considerable internet commerce disruptions, a State Farm Insurance strategic consultant told a U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs subcommittee Friday.

Karl Brondell, who heads up the Cyber Security Working Group of the 160-member Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs at leading companies, presented a group report to the Federal Financial Management Subcommittee, saying the nation lacks coordination between the public and private sectors in the event of an internet outage.

The report, "Essential Steps Toward Strengthening America's Cyber Terrorism Preparedness," found major holes in planning, including an inadequate warning system to identify possible internet attacks, unclear responsibilities among public and private partners should an incident occur and unsatisfactory resources to recover from an attack.

"Progress has been made over the past decade on technical issues, such as establishing computer security readiness teams in government and gaining a better understanding of cyber risks," Brondell said. "However, other issues have not been addressed, such as strategic management and governance issues around reconstituting the economy and shoring up market confidence after a widespread internet failure."

The report recommends improving coordination among government and business identities, creating a federally-funded panel of experts who would work to develop an internet restoration plan and implementing training exercises.

"Without these changes, our nation will continue to use ad hoc and incomplete tools for managing a critical risk to the internet – and to our nation's economy and security."

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