The Voice of e-Commerce

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Hurricane Season on the Internet What would happen in the event of a catastrophic disruption of the Internet? Is the U.S. adequately prepared to handle or recover from a “cyber-Katrina” type of disaster? According to a the Business Roundtable, an influential group of 160 CEOs with nearly $5 trillion in revenues, the U.S. is not adequately prepared for a major attack, software incident, or natural disaster that would lead to disruption of the Internet. According to the reportEssential Steps Toward Strengthening America’s Cyber Terrorism Preparedness—there are clear cyber shortfalls similar to the disaster response problems that occurred following Hurricane Katrina, including inadequate early warning systems, unclear and overlapping responsibilities among public and private organizations and insufficient resources. We have no coordinated plan to restart and restore the internet—and this could have immediate and nationwide consequences to our nation’s security and economy. We need to be better prepared. To recover from a cyber disaster, public and private sectors will need to collaborate on preparations and responses. Otherwise, separate and uncoordinated responses by government and business could delay recovery and create new problems. This is the ideal opportunity for ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to coordinate with other security groups and plan our response to cyber disasters. At a minimum, ICANN should help clarify roles and responsibilities for public and private operators of the Internet. ICANN can’t wait to start planning a response, because when it comes to the Internet, it’s always hurricane season.

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