02 Feb 11. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) and his co-sponsors plan to reintroduce a comprehensive cybersecurity bill during this Congress, but recent events in Egypt have reignited controversy over the potential for what has been called a presidential Internet “kill switch” in the legislation. The Mubarak government last week shut down most of Egypt’s Internet and wireless telecom infrastructure in response to massive antigovernment protests. Some critics of the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act have pointed to this as a warning of what could happen if the president were to be given the authority to shut down or disconnect from the Internet some critical infrastructures in the event of a cyberattack or emergency. In a statement issued Tuesday, senators Lieberman, who is chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, ranking member Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), condemned Egypt’s action as “totally wrong” and defended their own legislation. (Source: GCN)
05 Feb 11. Hackers have repeatedly penetrated the computer network of the company that runs the Nasdaq Stock Market during the past year, and federal investigators are trying to identify the perpetrators and their purpose, according to people familiar with the matter. The exchange’s trading platform—the part of the system that executes trades—wasn’t compromised, these people said. However, it couldn’t be determined which other parts of Nasdaq’s computer network were accessed. Investigators are considering a range of possible motives, including unlawful financial gain, theft of trade secrets and a national-security threat designed to damage the exchange. The Nasdaq situation has set off alarms within the government because of the exchange’s critical role, which officials put right up with power companies and air-traffic-control operations, all part of the nation’s basic infrastructure. Other infrastructure components have been compromised in the past, including a case in which hackers planted potentially disruptive software programs in the U.S. electrical grid, according to current and former national-security officials. (Source: WSJ)
03 Feb 11. Britain is to call for countries to agree rules for “acceptable behaviour” in cyberspace amid concern about what is seen as a growing security threat. William Hague, UK foreign secretary, will offer to host a conference in London this year “to lay the basis for a set of standards on how countries should act in cyberspace”. To underline the seriousness of the threat to governments and businesses, Mr Hague gives three examples of attacks on British interests, including those directed at his staff and a defence contractor. Although he does not name the states behind the attacks, leaked US diplomatic cables have detailed allegations of cyberattacks and intrusion by China and Russia. Work is already under way by international bodies to develop conventions on discreet cyber issues, but no foreign minister has called for a comprehensive set of principles that can govern the internet worldwide.
Addressing the Munich Security Conference on Friday, Mr Hague will urge nations to adopt standards that protect internet freedom and contain the “darker side of cyberspace”.
“There is a need for a more comprehensive, structured dialogue to begin to build consensus among like-minded countries,” he will say.
However, a formal arms control-style agreement, enshrined in an international treaty, is viewed as an unlikely outcome by British officials, given the difficulty of verifying its terms. Any agreement faces a high diplomatic hurdle because it must forge a consensus on a threat that is fast-changing, often anonymous, and intertwined with sovereign rights and the covert operations of intelligence services.
Internet-based threats are racing up the national security agenda for many industrialised nations, prompting the US to set up a Cyber Command and the UK to establish a defence cyber operations