States erect shield against cyberattack

The group representing state chief information officers has moved closer to establishing a information sharing and analysis center for the states by signing an agreement with the federal group responsible for distributing cyber and physical warnings against critical infrastructures.

The National Association of State CIOs of Lexington, Ky., signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Infrastructure Protection Center that will allow states to begin receiving the alerts, NASCIO announced July 25.

The National Infrastructure Protection Center, which is located at FBI headquarters in Washington, serves as the federal government's focal point for threat assessment, warning, investigation and response for threats attacks against the nation's critical infrastructures.

The center provides timely warnings of international threats, comprehensive analysis and enforcement investigation and response.

NASCIO views the agreement as a first step toward the establishment of an interstate information sharing and analysis center that would assist states in analyzing security breaches, repairing affected systems, reporting security alerts, providing a clearinghouse for progressive practices and working with appropriate federal entities.

Rock Regan, NASCIO president and Connecticut CIO, said that the agreement shows federal officials recognize the importance of providing information about cyber and physical threats to the states' critical infrastructures.

"Over time NASCIO will work with the states and federal partners, such as NIPC, to develop this interstate ISAC function into a national model for two-way trusted exchange of information in order to analyze and disseminate actionable intelligence on threats, vulnerabilities, anomalies and security best practices involving the continuity of state governments," he said.

Meanwhile, NASCIO published a report July 23 that called for an interstate information sharing and analysis center and the establishment of enterprise security architectures. The report, funded by the PricewaterhouseCoopers Endowment for the Business of Government, calls on public sector CIOs to take 10 steps to improve information security and protect electronic infrastructure. The report was written by former Kansas CIO Don Heiman.

NASCIO represents the state chief information officers from the 50 states, six U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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